‘Shielded big names’: CBI vs CBI plays out in Delhi court; judge rebukes officers
The two investigating officers (IOs) in a bribery case allegedly involving senior officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sparred in a special court on Friday.
First to draw blood was former investigating officer AK Bassi, who accused the current IO Satish Dagar of shielding the “big names” in the case. Bassi claimed that main player Manoj Prasad had revealed these names during his questioning in October 2018, but these were not investigated by Dagar.
Dagar hit back on allegations of bias saying, “I have better antecedents than you in the organisation. Don’t level personal allegations. I summoned you six times, why didn’t you appear if you wanted to assist in the investigation?”
“One must ask him (Bassi), he conducted investigation only between October 15 and 23, 2018, but how does he know what is happening in the CBI? How has he infiltrated our investigation?” Dagar said.
Dagar and the CBI lawyer opposed the submission of an additional note by Bassi on his findings. “Why is he submitting new documents when none of this was in his case diary? He cannot submit allegations or documents on the basis of hearsay,” said Dagar.
Special CBI Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal then intervened. “You both are in the same agency. You both have to go back there. Don’t wash your dirty linen in public.”
“If required, I will again call both of you for further clarification, but not together,” the judge said and posted the matter for further hearing on March 7.
At the last hearing on February 19, the court had rapped the CBI for not conducting psychological and lie detector tests on its former special director Rakesh Asthana in the case in which he was recently given clean chit.
The court asked the CBI whether there was any telephonic conversation recording of Asthana, which the agency denied.
“What about calls made to Asthana via WhatsApp? The complainant, Sana Satish Babu, has said this in his statement recorded under 164 CrPC (before a magistrate) ... Evidence cannot be disregarded at filing of chargesheet,” the court said.
“Did you collect any electronic equipment, mobile phones from Asthana? Did you confront him with Manoj Prasad and Someshwar Prasad,” it asked.
The CBI said, “No, we examined him but never confronted him with anyone.”
The FIR was filed on October 15, 2018 and the case remained with the first Investigating Officer till October 23, 2018.
The CBI registered the case against Asthana on the basis of a complaint from Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Sana, facing probe in a 2017 case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
Sana, a close aide of Qureshi, was arrested on July 27 last year by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.
In October 2018, the battle between the then Director Alok Verma and Special Director Asthana became public, forcing the government to intervene in the matter and transfer both officers.