War in CBI gets murkier, officer transferred to Andaman tells Supreme Court he has evidence against Rakesh Asthana

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After CBI Director Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana approached the Supreme Court against the government, now a third officer has challenged the Centre in the top court.

CBI

CBI Dy SP Ajay Kumar Bassi, who was leading the investigation against Asthana, was transferred to Andaman and Nicobar Islands with immediate effect on 24 October. His transfer order was signed by M Nageswar Rao, moments after he was appointed as the interim head of the federal probe agency. Rao, in his transfer order, had said that Bassi must join ‘join his new place of posting with immediate effect in public interest.’

Bassi has now approached the Supreme Court challenging the Centre’s Narendra Modi government. In his petition, he has also maintained that he had enough evidence against Asthana.

Asthana, according to the CBI, had accepted Rs 2 crore bribe to ensure a favourable settlement of the case against meat exporter Moeen Qureshi.

Claiming that he had incriminating evidence against Asthana, Bassi told the apex court that a special investigation team or SIT must be set up to probe the bribery allegations against the CBI’s number two.

While hearing the petition of Verma, the Supreme Court last week had ordered the Central Vigilance Commission to complete the probe against him within two weeks as the court set the new hearing date for 12 November. Verma had also alleged that Asthana forged statements to build a case of corruption against him.

Charges against Asthana, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer and a blue-eyed boy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are grave and may cause considerable embarrassment for the government if he was arrested by his own department, the CBI.

Verma had moved the Supreme Court earlier this week after the Centre carried out what was termed as a midnight constitutional coup, sending the CBI chief on long leave and sealing his office. This was after Verma had initiated action against Asthana by filing an FIR against him.

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