In CBI vs CBI, Chief Alok Verma Preps To Suspend Deputy: 10 Points

The CBI has filed a bribery case against its No. 2 officer Rakesh Asthana, who had written to the government listing several charges against Alok Verma.

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Bribery Case CBI: PM Modi has summoned CBI chief Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana.

New Delhi:  A day after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Central Bureau of Investigation chief Alok Verma has moved to suspend his deputy, Special Director Rakesh Asthana. Sources told NDTV that a letter was sent over weekend, in which Mr Verma has called for Mr Asthana's suspension, calling him "a source of demoralization". PM Modi has intervened in the massive fight within the country's main investigating agency, summoning both officers. The CBI chief met him on Sunday. The agency had filed a bribery case against Mr Asthana, who wrote to the government listing several charges against his boss.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:
  1. In the letter to the government, CBI chief Alok Verma had called Rakesh Asthana "a source of demoralisation, subject of probes," sources said. The CBI has refused to comment on the matter.
  2. Mr Asthana, a Gujarat officer dubbed "the PM's blue-eyed boy" by Congress president Rahul Gandhi in a tweet on Monday, was elevated as one of the country's top investigators in controversial circumstances last year. Sources in the PM's office say the CBI has not sought permission to act against him, as is required in such cases.
  3. On Monday, the CBI arrested its officer Devender Kumar, who worked with Rakesh Asthana, and accused him of making false statements against its chief. In an unprecedented fallout of the fight, the CBI searched its own offices - specifically the rooms of senior officers who have worked with Rakesh Asthana.
  4. The CBI's First Information Report (FIR) against Rakesh Asthana is based on the claims of Sathish Sana, a Hyderabad-based businessman investigated in a money-laundering case against meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
  5. Sathish Sana has alleged that he was asked to pay a bribe of Rs. 5 crore to Mr Asthana to be spared. The CBI says Sathish Sana told a magistrate that he had paid Rs. 2 crore as bribe to Mr Asthana over a 10 month period from December last year.
  6. Manoj Prasad, a Dubai-based investment banker, was allegedly the middleman who organized the bribe. He was arrested on October 16 when he was allegedly about to collect an installment. The CBI claims nine phone calls made by Manoj Prasad's brother Somesh immediately after the arrest included conversations with Mr Asthana.
  7. Somesh Prasad has also been charged by the CBI. Manoj and Somesh are the sons of a former officer of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). The CBI says the role of R&AW officials is also being investigated.
  8. In a complaint to the government in August, Rakesh Asthana had alleged it was the CBI chief who took that bribe but had framed him, because he prevented Sathish Sana from skipping the country. Earlier this month, Mr Asthana also accused the CBI chief of trying to frame him in the case of Gujarat-based company Sterling Biotech, which is being investigated for huge loan default.
  9. Sathish Sana had, during his interrogation, "admitted" to bribing the CBI director, Mr Asthana said in his letter to the Cabinet Secretariat. The letter also listed 10 instances of corruption, criminal misconduct, interference in the investigation of the sensitive cases. The claim has been termed fraudulent by the CBI and for this it has arrested Devender Kumar.
  10. The CBI infighting started last year when the director objected to the appointment of Mr Asthana as his number 2, citing the Sterling Biotech case. Mr Asthana, who had been acting chief, was elevated nevertheless, after another officer was reportedly transferred overnight to the home ministry to make way for him.


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Highlights

1
CBI has filed FIR against No. 2 officer Rakesh Asthana
2
Asthana accused of taking Rs 2 crore bribe from a businessman
3
Asthana says charges driven by his complaint against CBI chief Alok Verma

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