CBI vs CBI: No relief for Rakesh Asthana as Delhi HC refuses to quash FIR in bribery case

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: January 11, 2019

The high court also rejected the contention that the CBI should have taken the government’s sanction before registering the case, underlining that when a cognisable offence is alleged to have been committed, there must be a probe.


Rakesh Asthana
 
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court refused to quash the FIR in the bribery case against Rakesh Asthana, CBI Special Director and Devender Kumar, CBI DySP. The court has directed the CBI to complete the investigation within 10 weeks and file a charge sheet.
 
The court said the allegation of mala fide raised against the then CBI Director Alok Verma is not made out.
 
The high court also rejected the contention that the CBI should have taken the government’s sanction before registering the case, underlining that when a cognisable offence is alleged to have been committed, there must be a probe.
 
In his petition, Asthana had challenged the FIR saying it was motivated at the behest of his boss, CBI director Alok Verma, who was sacked by the government on Thursday.
 
Asthana and Kumar were accused of taking Rs. 3 crores in bribe from businessman Sathish Babu Sana to sabotage a money laundering investigation against meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
 
Justice Najmi Waziri of the High Court had reserved its verdict on December 20 on various petitions after hearing submissions of the counsels for CBI, the Centre, Asthana, Kumar, former CBI director Alok Kumar Verma and Joint Director A K Sharma.
 
The court was hearing petitions filed by the three challenging the First Information Report in which Asthana was charged with criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct.
 
“Senior advocates Amrendra Sharan and Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Asthana and Kumar respectively, argued that the FIR was antedated and it reached the magistrate 52 hours after registration, whereas, as per law it should be placed before the magistrate within 24 hours. They contended that there was no allegation of demand and acceptance of illegal gratification against Asthana and he cannot be made an accused of the alleged offence under the PC Act. They had also placed reliance on Section 17A in the Prevention of Corruption Act, newly inserted as per 2018 amendment, which mandated prior sanction even for investigation of offences. It was their argument that registration of FIR required prior sanction,” reported Live Law.
 
Verma has said in the affidavit that there were sufficient incriminating documents and evidence against all accused -- Asthana, Kumar and middleman Manoj Prasad -- with the CBI and the FIR was lodged after the PE disclosed cognisable offences.
 
It has claimed that Asthana's plea is misconceived, premature and not maintainable as the investigation in the matter is at a nascent stage.
 
The development comes a day after CBI chief Alok Verma was removed by a high-level committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, just two days after his conditional reinstatement by the Supreme Court.