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CBI gives clean chit to Rakesh Asthana in a case of bribery

Rakesh Asthana was the CBI’s second-in-command when the case was filed.

Rakesh Asthana was the CBI’s second-in-command when the case was filed.  

The CBI on Tuesday filed a chargesheet in a case of alleged bribery against its former second-in-command Rakesh Asthana and others, giving a clean chit to him and another official. “The chargesheet has been filed against accused Manoj Prasad. The investigation has not revealed any role of public servants. Responses to the letters rogatory sent overseas are still awaited,” said a CBI official.

The move came a day before the matter was to come up in the Delhi High Court which, in January, pulled up the CBI for the delay and set a four-week deadline for submission of the charge sheet in the lower court.

The FIR in the matter was lodged in October 2018 amid a turf war between then CBI chief Alok Kumar Verma and his deputy that saw both of them accusing each other of corruption and misconduct. Both were shunted by the government following a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) recommendation.

The FIR named Mr. Asthana; the then CBI Deputy Superintendent of Police, Devender Kumar; Dubai-based investment banker Manoj; and his brother, Somesh Prasad, as accused.

It was alleged that Hyderabad-based businessman Sana Sathish Babu had paid over Rs.3 crore in bribe to get relief in a case against meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

The CBI, which arrested Manoj on October 16, 2018, got Mr. Babu's statement recorded before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, alleging that bribes were paid in five instalments.

According to the FIR, Mr. Babu was summoned in the Qureshi case multiple times for questioning. During a trip to Dubai, he met Manoj, who allegedly introduced him to his brother for getting relief. It was alleged that Somesh, after talking to a CBI official on phone, demanded Rs.3 crore as initial sum and Rs.2 crore after the filing of the charge sheet.

After Mr. Verma was stripped of his powers on October 23, 2018, he approached the Supreme Court, which reinstated him with the condition that he would not take any major policy decision till the high-powered committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided the question of his divestment.

Within hours of being reinstated, in January 2019, the committee removed Mr. Verma, based on the CVC findings. He was then given the charge of Director-General Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards, which he refused to take up.

In July 2019, the Enforcement Directorate arrested Mr. Babu in the money laundering case against Mr. Qureshi, who has been accused of receiving money from several people on the pretext of getting favours from public servants holding influential positions in the government.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 12:57:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cbi-gives-clean-chit-to-rakesh-asthana-in-a-case-of-bribery/article30794986.ece

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