In an unprecedented development, the federal probe agency CBI has reportedly registered an FIR against its own special director Rakesh Asthana for taking Rs two crore bribe to allegedly settle a case against meat exporter Moeen Qureshi.
This was after the CBI arrested and interrogated one middleman, identified as Manoj Kumar, on October 16. Quoting senior CBI officials, The Pioneer reported that the FIR was registered against Asthana on 15 October adding that Manoj had confessed to giving money and recorded his statement before a Magistrate about the bribe.
Manoj has reportedly admitted that he had paid bribe to Asthana on behalf of Qureshi. The website also claimed that the FIR also named RAW’s second senior most officer Samant Kumar Goel, who was described as part of the extortion gang in the CBI. Goel too is believed to have played a key role in facilitating in closing of the case against Qureshi.
Sources said that the CBI took the decision to book its own special director after intercepting phone conversations between a Hyderabad-based complainant and two brothers based in Lucknow. Journalist Meeti Jain posted a series of tweets saying that they discussed ‘bribe amount, mode and place of payment with Special Director’s name being quoted liberally.’
Lutyens Gossip: CBI likely to file fresh FIR against its special director Rakesh Ashthana.
— meetu jain (@meetujain) October 20, 2018
The internal war in India’s federal probe agency has been a topic of intense conversation for several weeks now. Last month, the CBI had issue a formal statement, terming Asthana’s complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission against its chief Alok Verma as ‘frivolous’ and ‘malicious.’
In an unusual move, as reported by news agency PTI, the CBI had issued a statement after reports about Asthana filing a complaint before the CVC alleging interference in the probes undertaken by the special investigation team under him.
Its statement had read, “It is unfortunate that baseless and frivolous allegations are being made publicly without proper verification of facts to malign the image of the Director CBI and intimidate the officials of the organization.”
Curiously, the Supreme Court last year had dismissed the petition filed by lawyer Prashant Bhushan challenging the appointment of Asthana as a special director of CBI.
He said the diary showed the name of Asthana as having received an illegal gratification from a company and CBI has recently registered an FIR for money laundering against the accused firm and some public servants.