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Court pulls up CBI for not conducting lie detector test on Asthana

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 next date of hearing has been fixed for February 28.

A special court on February 19 pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation for not conducting a lie detector or psychological test on its former Special Director Rakesh Asthana in an alleged bribery case.

The court, which had earlier in the day asked the agency to submit the case diary for examination, also enquired about the previous investigating officer, Ajay Kumar Bassi.

The CBI submitted that Mr. Bassi had been transferred to Port Blair, but he was currently in Delhi. He was taken off the case after the then agency chief, Alok Kumar Verma, was shunted out.

Mr. Verma was stripped off his powers days after the case was registered, amid allegations and counter allegations between him and Mr. Asthana.

The court also asked if Mr. Asthana was confronted with the other accused; whether his mobile phones and laptops were examined; and if there was any evidence to disprove the complainant’s statement recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Also read | Who is Rakesh Asthana?

The agency submitted that the lie detector test on some accused and witnesses had indicated that they were deceptive.

The next date of hearing has been fixed for February 28, and Mr. Bassi has also been asked to be present to assist in the scrutiny of case diary.

The court also observed that advocate Sunil Mittal, a co-accused in the case, “seems like a fictional character emerging from 'Mission Impossible' and 'James Bond' moviess. Why showing so much indulgence to him?"

On Mr. Mittal's son-in-law Somesh Prasad, who is another accused, the court asked, “why are you showing so much indulgence to someone who isn't cooperating and didn't even share his phone?”

The court is yet to take cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the CBI, giving a clean chit to Mr. Asthana and Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar who was earlier arrested in the case.

The charge sheet names Manoj Prasad as the accused. He was also arrested by the agency. During the last hearing, the court had reprimanded the agency, wondering why an accused, Mr. Prasad’s brother Somesh Prasad, having a bigger role was roaming free, but it arrested its own official.

The case was registered in October 2018, on a complaint from Hyderabad-based businessman Sana Sathish Babu, against Mr. Asthana, Mr. Kumar, and the Prasad brothers.

Mr. Babu had alleged that he paid over Rs.3 crore to get relief in another case against meat exporter Moin Qureshi and others. In July 2019, the ED arrested Mr. Babu in a money laundering case linked to Mr. Qureshi and filed a charge sheet against him last week.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 11:36:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/court-pulls-up-cbi-for-not-conducting-lie-detector-test-on-asthana/article30858606.ece

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