HC probe for Raskesh Asthana
Court refuses to quash FIR against Spl Director, vacates order granting protection against criminal proceedings
New Delhi: In a setback to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Director Rakesh Asthana, the Delhi High Court has refused to quash FIR against him and ordered the agency to investigate the charges. The court also directed the CBI to complete the investigation within 10 weeks and file a charge sheet.
The HC also rejected the contention 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 govt Thursday.
HC said the allegation of mala fide raised against Verma is not made out. Justice Najmi Waziri also vacated its Oct 23, 2018 interim order directing the agency to maintain “status quo” on proceedings against Asthana, who had sought directions for no coercive steps in connection with a case of alleged bribery.
It ruled sanction to prosecute Asthana and Devinder Kumar was not required into the matter, keeping in view the facts of this case.
The court had reserved judgment on Dec 20, 2018, on various petitions after hearing submissions of counsel for the CBI, Asthana, agency director Alok Verma, Deputy Superintendent Devender Kumar, and Joint Director AK Sharma.
Asthana, Kumar and an alleged middleman Manoj Prasad had moved court seeking the quashing of the FIR.
The FIR was filed after Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana claimed he had paid bribes to get relief in a case related to meat-exporter Moin Qureshi and made allegations of corruption and extortion against Asthana.
The CVC is neither the appointing authority nor the removing authority for the CBI chief
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Congress spokesperson
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