CBI sleuth files plea in Supreme Court: ‘Moved to bail out Rakesh Asthana’
CBI’s Ajay Kumar Bassi was among the officers who were transferred out of Delhi in the predawn transfer orders issued by the Centre on October 23 – an unprecedented shake-up witnessed in the premier agency.Updated: Oct 31, 2018 00:08 IST
Ajay Kumar Bassi, deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) anti-corruption cell and a member of the team probing allegations against CBI special director Rakesh Asthana, approached the Supreme Court on Tuesday alleging threat to his life and “attempts to bail out Asthana” by the federal investigation agency.
Bassi was among the officers who were transferred out of Delhi in the predawn transfer orders issued by the Centre on October 23 – an unprecedented shake-up witnessed in the premier agency. He was moved to Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
His lawyer, Sunil Fernandes, mentioned the petition before a bench led by CJI Gogoi, which agreed to fix a date for hearing.
In another matter connected with the case, the SC ordered Hyderabad Police to provide adequate protection to Sathish Babu Sana, on whose complaint CBI registered a case against Asthana. Sana has accused Asthana of corrupt practices.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi turned down Sana’s request to quash the summons issued by CBI asking him to appear before it. His plea that instead of CBI his statement should be recorded by former top court judge justice AK Patnaik, too, was declined. Justice Patnaik is supervising a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) probe against CBI director Alok Verma against whom Asthana has made allegations, leading to a bitter feud between the two senior officers, eventually prompting the Centre to intervene and divest them of their duties.
Last week, the court entrusted the task to the former judge. “Justice Patnaik knows his job and no direction needs to be passed in this regard,” CJI Gogoi told Sana’s counsel.
In his petition, Bassi said he was being targeted by CBI. He added that statements of Sana recorded by him, prior to his transfer, specifically mentioned that the illegal gratification to the tune of crores of rupees was taken by Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad (two alleged middlemen) in Asthana’s name.
“The said transfer order is vitiated by malafide, and interference in the fair and impartial investigation of pending cases and intended to penalise and victimize an officer for his honesty and integrity,” read Bassi’s petition. “The applicant is also aggrieved by the actions taken after his transfer order, whereby not only the course of the investigation of a highly sensitive case, investigated by the applicant herein is sought to be influenced. The applicant bears a reasonable apprehension that he and his team members and senior officers, would be implicated in the same,” it added.
“The investigation conducted by the applicant herein revealed that the act of demand and acceptance of illegal gratification primarily pertains to two distinct periods of December 2017 and October 2018. There are two instances of acceptance of bribe in December 2017 totalling to R2.95 crore and three instances of acceptance of bribe in October 2018 totalling to around R36 lacs,” Bassi’s application before the top court alleged.
Another high-ranking bureaucrat, presently special secretary of R&AW, and two more CBI officers have been named by Bassi in the petition. “The applicant’s life liberty and dignity is under threat of vindictive and vicious officials against whom my investigation was proceeding in a fair and just manner. All the evidences mentioned above are in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation and there is a suspicion that the same may be tampered with or destroyed,” his petition claimed.
The CVC, meanwhile on Tuesday, examined several officers associated with the investigations cited by special director Asthana in his counter-complaint against director Verma.
Meanwhile, a Delhi court on Tuesday sent middleman Manoj Prasad and DSP Devender Kumar to 14 days judicial custody after CBI said it does not need their custody any more. Kumar is also under Bassi’s scanner in the case registered at Sana’s behest.
Special judge Santosh Snehi Mann said she would hear Kumar’s bail application on Tuesday and asked CBI to file its reply on the bail plea.
Appearing for Kumar, his counsel Rahul Tyagi contended that CBI was tampering and fabricating evidence in a case against him. Kumar’s counsel submitted that his client had eight mobiles. However, the agency showed that only one mobile phone was seized.
Replying to the allegations of Kumar’s counsel, CBI’s investigating officer informed the court that he had recently taken over the probe. He also said that there were other devices which were pending analysis at the scientific branch of the CBI. He also said that the reply to the bail application could not be filed due to the non-availability of case documents, as they have been sent to the CVC following orders of the apex court. The court asked it to file the reply on the basis of the documents available and posted the matter for Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Prasad also moved a bail application seeking his release. His plea will be heard on November 2.
Separately, acting CBI director M Nageswara Rao on Tuesday described media reports citing irregularities in investments made by his wife in a private company as “incorrect and untrue.” Rao, a 1986-batch IPS officer from Odisha, in a signed statement said all the transactions and investments made by him or his wife, Mannem Sandhya, have been given to the competent authorities, and everything has been mentioned in his annual property returns filed mandatorily with the government.
First Published: Oct 30, 2018 23:51 IST