CBI Officer Who Was Investigating Rakesh Asthana Moves SC Against Transfer, Claims Bribery Proof

New Delhi: AK Bassi, the CBI officer who was investigating corruption allegations against the agency’s special director Rakesh Asthana, has moved the Supreme Court seeking an SIT probe in the Moin Qureshi case.

Bassi was transferred to Port Blair following the upheaval in the CBI last week when Asthana and agency director Alok Verma were divested of all charges.

In his petition before the apex court, Bassi has challenged his transfer and claimed that he has “incriminating” evidence against Asthana. He told the top court on Tuesday that he has evidence of Rs 3.3 crore bribe paid to those mentioned in the FIR. He has cited WhatsApp messages and calls as evidence.

In a complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission, Asthana had alleged that Bassi was carrying out “roving inquiries” against him on the directions of Alok Verma.

The Delhi High Court has directed the CBI to maintain status quo till November 1 on the criminal proceedings initiated against Asthana, who has challenged the FIR lodged against him.

The crisis in the country’s premier investigating agency case emanates from a statement recorded by a Hyderabad-based real estate agent Sathish Sana whose role was being investigated by a team led by Asthana in a bribery case allegedly involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

It was alleged that Sana had paid Rs 50 lakh as bribe to Qureshi, which was shown as investment in his company, to get relief in a bribery case.

A Special Investigation Team led by Rakesh Asthana was probing the matter and was repeatedly questioning Sana in this regard as it suspected him of lying in the matter.

A lookout notice was also issued against him by the investigation which prevented him from leaving the country on September 25, 2018, Sana had said in his statement which is part of the FIR.

The team also submitted a proposal to arrest him as it felt the need for custodial interrogation on October 20, 2018 before the director which was not cleared and sent for the opinion of Directorate of Prosecution.

“The arrest is ordered only when certain parameters are fulfilled. The sanctioning authority satisfies itself whether arrest is warranted or not. The due procedure was followed,” CBI spokesperson said on the question of Asthana’s claims.

Asthana in his complaint to the Cabinet Secretary on August 24 had alleged that CBI Director Alok Verma had received a bribe of Rs 2 crore from Sana to help him get relief from repeated questioning.

He had also alleged that Verma had called him over phone in February to not call Sana for questioning.

In a surprising and unprecedented move on October 15, the CBI booked Asthana and investigation officer of the case on the charges of receiving bribe from Sana through middlemen Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad.

The CBI has arrested Devender Kumar, the Deputy SP and investigation officer, alleging that he had fabricated the statement of Sana purportedly claiming that a Rajya Sabha MP had met Verma on his pending case and assured him of relief and a clean chit.

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