CBI vs CBI: Rakesh Asthana, accused of bribery by ex-director Alok Verma, gets clean chit

Updated on Feb 11, 2020 06:09 PM IST

Ex-CBI special director Rakesh Asthana was accused of corruption and criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act) in 2018.

(Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO)
(Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByNeeraj Chauhan

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has cleared its former special director Rakesh Asthana and deputy superintendent of police Devender Kumar in the 2018 bribery case registered by then the agency chief Alok Verma, officials said on Tuesday.

Rakesh Asthana was booked on the allegations of criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act) on a complaint filed by Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana.

Asthana has maintained that the complaint against him was fabricated against him at the behest of Alok Verma.

The probe agency has said that there is no evidence which shows that Asthana ever demanded or paid any bribe to save complainant Sathish Sana Babu in the money laundering case related to the controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

It also has concluded there was no connection between Asthana and arrested accused Manoj Prasad.

CBI has chargesheeted Dubai-based private person Manoj Prasad as calls between him and complainant Sathish Sana Babu were ascertained.

It clearly stated that “there was no role of any public servant” in the discussion Sathish Sana Babu had with Manoj Prasad.

Verma, in a first information report registered on October 15, 2018, had also named Samant Goel, the current RAW chief, in the body of the FIR. The clean chit to all public servants means he is exonerated from the CBI probe as well.

CBI director Rishi Kumar Shukla agreed with the view of Investigating Officer Satish Dagar and four others in the hierarchy that “no case” was made out against public servants including Rakesh Asthana.

In the FIR registered by Verma, Sana had claimed that Manoj Prasad had told him about his “good connections” in CBI and that his brother Somesh would help him get out of the case.

Sana had further claimed when he met Somesh in Dubai, he was told that Asthana will surely do the work as he (Somesh) managed officer’s investments in Dubai and London for the past many years.

The businessman had also claimed that he saw Asthana’s photo on Somesh’s WhatsApp and paid the first instalment of Rs 1 crore to Manoj in Dubai, and later Rs 1.95 crore to Manoj’s contact Sunil Mittal on December 12, 2017, in Press Club of India’s parking area in Delhi’s Raisina Road.

Sana also alleged that he paid Rs 25 lakh on October 10, 2018, and 25,000 dirhams (around Rs 500,000) and 30,000 dirhams (around Rs 600,000) to Manoj in Dubai around the same time.

While he was in Dubai in December 2017, he claims, Somesh also made him listen to conversations of two CBI officers on the phone, and one of the voices was that of Asthana.

Rakesh Asthana has denied all the allegations saying the case was fabricated against him at the behest of Verma and Sana was himself a suspect in Moin Qureshi case, which the Gujarat cadre officer was investigating.

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