CBI vs CBI: Relief for Rakesh Asthana as court accepts clean chit

The court order said there wasn’t sufficient material against Asthana and DSP Devender Kumar

Rakesh Asthana

A special CBI court on Saturday (March 7) accepted the Central Bureau of Investigation’s clean chit to its bribery-accused former special director Rakesh Asthana and DSP Devender Kumar.

While taking cognisance of the chargesheet by the central agency, Special CBI Judge Sanjeev Agarwal in his order said there was no sufficient ground to proceed against the two public servants.

The court summoned “middleman” Manoj Prasad, who was arrayed as an accused in the charge sheet. Besides, the court also summoned Prasad’s brother Someshwar Srivastava and father-in-law Sunil Mittal, saying there was sufficient material to proceed against them. Srivastava and Mittal’s names had cropped up during the probe.

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The court directed Prasad, Srivastava and Mittal to appear before the court on April 13. The court also said that the CBI may file a charge sheet if it finds anything against Asthana in its ongoing probe.

Related news: CBI vs CBI: Judge rebukes former officers sparring in Delhi HC

The judge took cognisance of the charge sheet filed under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and 385 (extortion) of IPC and sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.

The court was earlier told by the former investigator agency of the case, AK Bassi, that there were “clinching evidence” against Asthana in the case. The charge sheet, filed on February 11, had only arrayed Prasad as an accused.

Asthana and CBI’s DSP Kumar, who was arrested in 2018 and later got bail, were named in column 12 of the charge sheet in the case since there was not enough evidence to make them accused. Suspended DSP Devender Kumar was the investigating officer in a 2017 case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

Related news: Court raps CBI for not conducting psychological, lie detector tests on Asthana

Satish Sana, who was arrested for alleged links to Moin Qureshi money laundering case, had also claimed links to senior CBI and RAW officials. The current case of alleged bribery was lodged on a complaint of Sana.

The court had on February 12 expressed displeasure over the CBI’s investigation into the case and it had asked why the accused with bigger roles were roaming free while the probe agency had arrested its own deputy superintendent of police.

The CBI had 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.

(With inputs from agencies)

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