CBI vs CBI, Special Director Rakesh Asthana Arrested In Bribery Case

Special Director Rakesh Asthana is alleged to have received bribes, amounting to Rs 3 crore, from Moin Qureshi, a meat exporter, to settle a money-laundering case against him.

In an unprecedented development, the Central Bureau of Investigation have raided its own headquarters in the case involving bribery charges against its Special Director Rakesh Asthana. The CBI also arrested its Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar.

What is the case ? 

Special Director Rakesh Asthana is alleged to have received bribes, amounting to Rs 3 crore, from Moin Qureshi, a meat exporter, to settle a money-laundering case against him.

Asthana is alleged to have received the money through a Dubai based investment banker Manoj Prasad and his brother Somesh Prasad. The CBI arrested Manoj on 16 October from Delhi airport.

The case has been registered on the complaint of a Hyderabad based businessman Satish Sana. Deputy Superintendent of Police Devinder Kumar is arrested on the charges of fabricating the statement of Satish Sana. Kumar who was the investigation officer in the case, created a statement of the case on 26 September 2018. But, during investigations it was found out that Satish wasn’t present in Delhi on the day. Eight mobile phones, a laptop and a few documents were seized during the searches at Kumar’s home and office.

“It was found that Devender Kumar had fabricated the statement…to corroborate the baseless allegations made by Rakesh Asthana against Alok Verma to the Chief Vigilance Commission. The role of other officers of the SIT supervising the Moin Qureshi case is also being probed,” CBI said in a statement.

Earlier, on 19 October, Asthana had written a letter to the cabinet secretary complaining about the director Alok Verma. He alleged that the 3 crore bribe was infact paid to the CBI Director to settle the money laundering case against Moin Qureshi. He also wrote that the CBI was trying to frame him

The rift between CBI Director Verma and Special Director Asthana grew in October 2017 during a meeting of a five member panel led by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), objected to Asthana’s promotion as Special Director.

TURMOIL FOR MODI GOVERNMENT : 

Rakesh Asthana is a Gujarat IPS officer of 1984 batch. He had probed cases of fodder scam, Godhra train fire. He is thought to be close to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.

Public Interest Lawyer, Prashant Bhushan said,”It is a serious crisis squarely brought on by the government. He(Asthana) was pushed through despite the director pointing out that they are investigating a case against him. He seems to be very close to PM Modi and Amit Shah. CBI is today used for political purposes against political opponents. CBI should not be under the administrative control of the government. If there had been Lokpal, it could have investigated the issue. It is debatable whether permission is required for the FIR.”

Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted,”The PM’s blue-eyed boy, Gujarat cadre officer, of Godra SIT fame, infiltrated as No. 2 into the CBI, has now been caught taking bribes. Under this PM, the CBI is a weapon of political vendetta. An institution in terminal decline that’s at war with itself.”

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