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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Officer who probed CBI No. 2 Rakesh Asthana gives secret records to SC

Ajay Bassi, the officer investigating CBI special director Rakesh Asthana in the bribery case against him, on Monday moved the Supreme Court challenging his transfer to Port Blair in the Andamans.

india Updated: Oct 30, 2018 19:14 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Security personnel stand guard outside the CBI headquarters in Bengaluru.
Security personnel stand guard outside the CBI headquarters in Bengaluru.(AP Photo)

CBI officer Ajay Bassi, who has petitioned the Supreme Court for a special team to probe CBI No. 2 Rakesh Asthana, on Tuesday cited evidence with the investigating agency that he claimed could implicate the CBI special director.

He produced some details of the phone taps conducted by the probe agency and wanted the court to order the CBI to produce the entire bunch of phone records that the agency had gathered during its surveillance in a sealed envelope.

Bassi, who led the investigation against Asthana before he was shunted out to Port Blair, also asked the top court to cancel his transfer orders as it was designed to derail the impartial investigation.

Bassi was among the 13 other officers to be transferred as the part of the reshuffle by the acting CBI director M Nageswar Rao following the midnight removal of CBI chief Alok Verma on October 24.

According to Bassi’s petition, Asthana and a senior official of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) Samant Goel were in touch with each other immediately after the registration of the case.

The call records, which were part of his petition, also claimed Goel was in touch with Somesh Prasad, a Dubai-based man who the CBI alleges acted as a middleman along with his brother Manoj Prasad to help Hyderabad-based businessman Sana Satish Babu.

Sana Satish Babu, who is the complainant in the CBI case against Asthana, is an accused in a corruption case involving controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi who faces charges that he used his influence with then CBI director AP Singh to “settle” cases.

Bassi said in his petition that during the conversations Somesh told his father-in-law Sunil Mittal that “Asthana apna aadmi hai” (Asthana is on our side) and “Manoj (his brother) has met Asthana three to four times”. Somesh, Bassi said, also claimed that Goel was very close to Asthana and told him to avoid coming to India.

The call records cited by Bassi did not specify the context of the conversations but shows that they were in touch with each other.

The CBI had booked Asthana on October 15 on the basis of Sana’s complaint.

Babu has alleged the Dubai-based brothers — Manoj and Somesh — 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 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 Sana Satish Babu, who was being protected by CBI director Alok Verma under a Rs 2 crore deal. The cabinet secretary forwarded this complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

Sana Satish Babu is also a witness in the Enforcement Directorate case against Qureshi.

Asthana wrote to the CVC that he recommended Sana Satish Babu’s arrest in the case in September. After the registration of the FIR against Asthana, the CBI arrested Manoj and Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Sharma.

First Published: Oct 30, 2018 19:14 IST

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