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‘Mouse caught between 2 elephants’: Accused named in case against CBI No.2

Manoj Prasad, a Dubai-based investment banker, has been accused of receiving bribes on behalf of Central Bureau of Investigation special director Rakesh Asthana and was arrested earlier this month.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2018 17:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CBI vs CBI,CBI tussle,Alok Verma
An accused in the corruption case against Central Bureau of Investigation’s no 2 Rakesh Asthana (left) Monday told the Delhi High Court that he was caught in the tussle between agency chief Alok Verma (right) and Asthana (File photo)(HT PHOTO)

An investment banker accused of taking bribes for CBI No. 2 Rakesh Asthana has told a Delhi court that he was caught in the power tussle between the CBI’s two senior-most officers, Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana. Manoj Prasad, a Dubai-based banker, had been named in the CBI case against Asthana and petitioned the court for cancelling the case.

“This is a fight between two elephants and one mouse has been caught in between”, Manoj Prasad’s lawyer, Sidharth Luthra said, a reference to the ongoing feud between CBI director Verma and his deputy Asthana.

A bench of Justice Najmi Waziri, which Monday extended Asthana’s protection from arrest till November 1, also directed the CBI to file reply on Prasad’s plea on or before October 31.

The bribery case against Asthana was registered on a complaint by a Hyderabad-based businessman, Sana Satish Babu, who alleged that Dubai-based brothers — Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad — claimed that they were acting on behalf of the CBI special director and allegedly struck a deal for Rs 5 crore to protect him (Babu) in a case that the agency registered against controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi last year. Former CBI director AP Singh is also an accused in the case.

However, two months before the registration of the case, Asthana complained to cabinet secretary Pradeep Sinha that it was the CBI chief who asked him in February to call off the questioning of Satish Babu, who was being protected by Verma under a Rs 2 crore deal. The cabinet secretary forwarded this complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

The agency has now named Satish Babu as a witness in the case against Qureshi. Asthana wrote to the CVC that he recommended Satish Babu’s arrest in the case in September. After the registration of the FIR against Asthana, the CBI arrested Prasad.

First Published: Oct 29, 2018 16:37 IST