The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued a stay on any action by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the agency’s special director Rakesh Asthana till 29 October in connecting with an alleged bribery case.
In its order the court said that no action is to be taken against Asthana by the CBI till the time of the next hearing. The court also asked the CBI director Alok Verma to respond to the allegations levelled against him by Asthana.
Calling it a case of “illegal registration of FIR”, the senior advocate for Asthana, Amarendra Sharan, said that “the person whose arrest was recommended by Asthana has now been made a complainant”.
“Based on his complaint this FIR has been filed. Any investigation without proper permission will be illegal,” the senior advocate said, stressing that the “matter is of great urgency”.
Commenting on the charges against Asthana, the CBI counsel said, “Charges very serious against the accused including that of bribery. Charges under prevention of corruption act along with criminal conspiracy. Charges of extortion and forgery will be added.”
A plea was filed by Asthana seeking the quashing of the FIR filed against him by the CBI. The matter was heard by Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameswar Rao.
On Monday, the CBI arrested Asthana’s aide, Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, in connection with the case. Kumar was arrested on charges of falsifying records and has been accused of forging statement against CBI chief Alok Verma.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Monday summoned both Verma and Asthana amid the ongoing fight between the top officials.
The CBI had on Sunday announced its decision to register a case against Asthana.
The charge against Asthana is that he accepted a bribe to settle a case connected to meat exporter Moin Qureshi, who is facing multiple cases of money laundering and corruption.
Interestingly, before being named in the alleged case of bribery, Asthana had filed a complaint against CBI Director Alok Verma accusing him of corruption and irregularities in 10 cases.
The complaint against Asthana was filed on 15 October 2018 by one Sathish Babu Sana, resident of Gachibowli, Hyderabad, Telangana.
Besides Asthana and Kumar, the FIR also mentions two others – Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad – who have been accused of acting as middlemen in the Rs 3 crore bribe given for the alleged settlement of the case.