In a significant development, the Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed the petition filed by CBI’s Special Director Rakesh Asthana, seeking quashing of FIR filed against him in the bribery case.
The court also dismissed the plea filed by CBI’s Dy SP Devender Kumar.
The then CBI Director Alok Verma had initiated the filing of an FIR against him for accepting more than Rs 2 crore as bribe from meat exporter Moin Qureshi. Both Asthana and Kumar were accused of accepting Rs 3 crore to favourably settle the money laundering case against Qureshi. Verma was later punished by the central government for acting against Asthana, believed to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On Thursday night, a panel headed by Modi ordered his removal from the post of the CBI Director.
One of the CBI officers had told the Supreme Court last year that a senior minister was also paid crores in the infamous Moin Qureshi case to intervene in the case, being investigated by the federal probe agency.
Manish Kumar Sinha, DIG CBI, had told the top court that he had documents that will ‘shock’ the court adding that his transfer to Nagpur was to change ‘the course of the investigation’ since the agency’s special director Rakesh Asthana was under scrutiny. This prompted the Chief Justice of India to say that nothing shocked him anymore. The CJI, however, refused to give an urgent hearing to his petition.
Another shocking revelation made in Sinha’s petition was the mention of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Sinha said that the middleman Manoj Prasad, who allegedly paid Rs 2 crore to Rakesh Asthana, bragged about his contact with Doval and taunted that ‘you people have no standing whatsoever and therefore should stay within limits.’ The petition read, “He (Manoj) claimed that recently his brother Somesh and Samant Goel, helped the NSA Shri Ajit Doval on an important personal matter.”