- Judge removes interim protection from arrest given to Rakesh Asthana
- He was charged with criminal conspiracy, corruption, criminal misconduct
- CBI told to complete investigation within 10 weeks
Rakesh Asthana, the CBI Number 2, will be investigated in the bribery case against him, the Delhi High Court said today. The judge refused to cancel the case filed against Special Director Rakesh Asthana, CBI Deputy Superintendent Devender Kumar and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad, and also removed the interim protection given to Mr Asthana against criminal proceedings.
The CBI has been told to complete investigation in the case against Mr Asthana and others within 10 weeks.
The court was hearing petitions filed by the three challenging the First Information Report or FIR in which Mr Asthana was charged with criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct.
Justice Najmi Waziri said that permission for prior sanction to prosecute Mr Asthana and Mr Kumar was not needed considering the facts of the case.
Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, on whose complaint the FIR was filed, alleged he paid bribe to get relief in a money laundering case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
Rakesh Asthana, a 1984-batch IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre, is accused of accepting a bribe of Rs 2 crore from Mr Sana.
We welcome the Delhi High Court's decision to continue investigating bribery charges against Rakesh Asthana. We can only imagine the skeletons that will be revealed after an independent investigation by the CBI on Modiji's blue-eyed boy!- Congress (@INCIndia) January 11, 2019
The development comes a day after Mr Asthana's boss and CBI chief Alok Verma was removed by a high-level committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after his conditional reinstatement by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Mr Verma was accused of corruption by Rakesh Asthana in October, when the two officers traded charges in an unprecedented public rift within the country's premier investigating agency.
Mr Asthana had told the court he was maliciously harassed and there was no evidence against him and the bribery case is a backlash to complaints of criminal misconduct against Alok Verma.
As the government sent both on immediate leave and appointed an interim chief in a midnight swoop, Mr Verma approached the Supreme Court.
The PM Modi-led panel had transferred him as Director General Fire Services, after deciding that as CBI chief, he had "not acted with the integrity expected of him".
The opposition asked why Mr Verma was not allowed to present his case before the panel and questioned the process.
But Alok Verma, who was to retire on January 31, resigned today.