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CBI caught in quagmire: Factors which made it inevitable?

By IndianMandarins- 22 Oct 2018
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Controversy related to Rakesh Asthana, an inevitable outcome of in-fights between No. 01 & No. 02 in CBI, emerged almost a year ago on Saturday, October 21, 2017. The selection committee headed by CVC was convened for selection of four SPs, four Joint Directors and a Special Director. The CBI Chief Alok Kumar Verma (IPS:1979:UT) was invitee member of the selection committee and was expected to give his concurrence to the proposed names. Verma was comfortable with the names for SP level officers and asked for ten-days-time to come up with his opinion on the names shortlisted for Joint Director level posts; a deadlock which still continues. But it came as a surprise to the selection committee when Verma out rightly objected to Rakesh Asthana’s (IPS:1984:GJ) name for selection to the post of Special Director and submitted a set of documents that pertained to Asthana’s alleged suspicious role in Sterling Bio-tech case. CBI Chief had reportedly conveyed the selection committee that the agency was about to initiate an inquiry into the matter. The meeting dispersed with a deep sense of deadlock on Asthana’s prospect but the very next day, on Sunday mid-night of October 22, 2017, Asthana’s appointment as CBI Special Director was announced.

 

Immediately, after Asthana’s appointment a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court calling for disclosure of all relevant records pertaining to Asthana's appointment. The SC on November 13, 2017 heard the case and upheld selection committee’s choice of Rakesh Asthana as second-in-command of the premier investigative agency.

 

Coming to the latest development which shook the entire bureaucratic circle last week it was not just a coincidence that CBI Chief on 21 October 2018, reportedly, met the Prime Minister and briefed after CBI booked its second in command, Rakesh Asthana, on the allegations of receiving bribe from an accused probed by him in a case linked to meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

 

It may be mentioned that the CBI registered the case -- FIR RC 13(A) of 2018 -- against Asthana on October 15 on the basis of a complaint from Satish Sana, facing probe in the 2017 case allegedly involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, alleging the officer had allegedly helped him to get a clean chit. The CBI has also arrested Manoj Prasad, believed to be a middleman, when he returned from Dubai on October 16. It is alleged by Sana that Prasad and his brother Somesh had taken money to arrange clean chit to him

 

Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Asthana is heading the Special Investigating Team handling crucial cases such as AgustaWestland chopper scam and loan fraud by business tycoon Vijay Mallya. The team is also probing the Moin Qureshi case.

 

It may also be noted that Asthana in an exhaustive letter to the Cabinet Secretary on August 24 had given a list of 10 instances of alleged corruption by Verma in which it was alleged that Sana paid the CBI chief Rs 20 million to get a clean chit in the case, government sources said. This complaint was referred to the Central Vigilance Commission which is probing the matter. Asthana has again written to the CVC on October 19 -- four days after the FIR was registered -- informing him that he wanted to arrest and interrogate Sana for which a proposal was sent to the Director on September 20, 2018, they said. In the letter, he has also referred to his communication to Cabinet Secretary on August 24 in which details of alleged irregularities against the Director were given. He said the Director allegedly held the file for nearly four days and marked to the Director of Prosecution (DoP) on September 24, 2018, who demanded all evidence available on record, the sources said.

 

It was the team under Asthana which had opened a lookout circular against Sana who attempted to flee the country but could not because of the pre-emptive action, they said.

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