CBI re­jects Asthana plea against FIR

Hindustan Times (Bathinda) - - Nation - Richa Banka [email protected]

NEWDELHI: The Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI) on Fri­day op­posed a plea by its spe­cial di­rec­tor Rakesh Asthana to quash a first in­for­ma­tion re­port (FIR) the agency had filed against him, and said it didn’t need prior sanc­tion to pros­e­cute him be­cause he hadn’t com­mit­ted the crime he is ac­cused of dur­ing the dis­charge of his of­fi­cial du­ties.

Ap­pear­ing for the CBI in the Delhi high court, ad­di­tional so­lic­i­tor gen­eral (ASG) Vikramjit Baner­jee said even ASG PS Narasimha had opined that prior sanc­tion was not re­quired to pros­e­cute Asthana in the case.

“What­ever has been done has not been done in the dis­charge of his of­fi­cial duty and hence sanc­tion is not re­quired to pros­e­cute him (Asthana),” he ar­gued.

The case against Asthana was reg­is­tered in Oc­to­ber by the CBI un­der its di­rec­tor Alok Verma on a com­plaint by a Hy­der­abad­based busi­ness­man, Sana Satish Babu, who al­leged that two Dubai-based broth­ers – Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad – claimed that they were act­ing on be­half of the CBI spe­cial di­rec­tor and al­legedly struck a deal for ~5 crore to pro­tect him in a case that the agency reg­is­tered against meat ex­porter Moin Qureshi.

ASG Baner­jee said the com­plaint by Sana showed a cog­nis­able of­fence.

CBI di­rec­tor Verma and Asthana, his im­me­di­ate deputy, were stripped of their pow­ers and sent on leave in Oc­to­ber as a feud be­tween the two of­fi­cers be­came in­creas­ingly pub­lic, with each ac­cus­ing the other of cor­rup­tion.

Baner­jee made his sub­mis­sions after se­nior ad­vo­cate Amaren­dra Sha­ran told the court that the Cen­tral Vig­i­lance Com­mis­sion (CVC) wrote a let­ter to CBI on Oc­to­ber 15, ask­ing it not to take any ac­tion against Asthana with­out its prior ap­proval. The let­ter was a re­sult of sev­eral com­mu­ni­ca­tions sent by Asthana to the CVC, com­plain­ing that he was be­ing vic­timised.

“How­ever, even after this ‘com­plete em­bargo’, the CBI reg­is­tered a case against Asthana with­out tak­ing prior sanc­tion re­quired un­der the rel­e­vant sec­tion of the Pre­ven­tion of Cor­rup­tion (PC) Act,” Sha­ran told jus­tice Nazmi Wa­jiri, adding that it (FIR) was “de­lib­er­ately given a go ahead”. Coun­ter­ing the ar­gu­ments, ASG Baner­jee said he did not have clue about any let­ter writ­ten by the CVC.

Dur­ing the over two-hour-long ar­gu­ments, Sha­ran also said the CVC had given a clean chit to his client. The CVC in­ves­ti­gated charges lev­elled against Verma by Asthana and sub­mit­ted a re­port to the SC last month.

Sha­ran’s claim did not go down well with the judge, who said, “How do you say this? Have you seen the (CVC) re­port?

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