Delhi High Court directs CBI to maintain status quo during Special Director’s proceedings

CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana

The Delhi High Court Monday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to maintain status quo on proceedings against Special CBI director Rakesh Asthana and questioned the agency for not replying to pleas filed by Asthana and Devender Kumar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, seeking quashing of FIR against them.

On October 22, Kumar was arrested on bribery allegations in connection to a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, in which he was the investigating officer.

Asthana was also dissolved of all his responsibilities. Asthana, a 1984 batch Indian Police Service officer of Gujarat cadre, is alleged to have demanded a bribe of Rs 5 crore from a Hyderabad-based businessman through two middlemen to help him get off the hook in the Moin Qureshi case. Both had alleged corruption on each other in connection with different cases.

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A bench of Justice Najmi Waziri directed the probe agency to submit its reply before November 1 in the case. The CBI prosecution has sought more time saying that the delay was due to the case files being sent to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and that the entire team has been reshuffled.

The CVC has sought file notings, records and other documents from the CBI on two main cases, which are Moin Qureshi and IRCTC scam involving RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his family members, sources cited by Indian Express stated.

CBI No. 2 Rakesh Asthana has accused CBI director Alok Verma of misconduct, interference in investigation and corruption.

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Middleman Manoj Prasad is currently in CBI custody till October 30.

Recently, after the news of Verma being sent on leave, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi alleged that Verma was forcibly sent on leave as he was collecting documents relating to the Rafale fighter jets deal ‘scam’, PTI reported.

In a tweet, Gandhi said, “CBI Chief Alok Verma was collecting documents relating to the Rafale scam. He was forcibly sent on leave”.

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“The Prime Minister’s message is very clear that whoever comes near Rafale (issue) will be removed, wiped out,” he said.

Finance Minister of India, Arun Jaitley dismissed the allegations as “rubbish” and said that the government of India’s decision to remove Verma and Asthana is based on the Central Vigilance Commission’s recommendations.

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