Was in UK for Mallya trial when al­leged bribe was paid: Asthana

Calls CBI’s FIR Against Him Fab­ri­cated

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - @times­group.com

New Delhi: CBI spe­cial di­rec­tor Rakesh Asthana, booked for cor­rup­tion by his boss Alok Verma based on a com­plaint from busi­ness­man Sathish Babu Sana, has claimed in his de­fence that he was in Lon­don to at­tend Vi­jay Mallya’s ex­tra­di­tion trial at the time when Sana claims to have ne­go­ti­ated birbes with him.

Asthana has said he was in Lon­don be­tween De­cem­ber 2 and14, 2017, which was when Sana claims al­leged mid­dle­men broth­ers Manoj and Somesh Prasad ne­go­ti­ated with the CBI of­fi­cer to set­tle the case against him and a hefty bribe was paid.

Asthana has said he was not in of­fice even af­ter re­turn­ing when Sana has claimed a cru­cial meet­ing be­tween the of­fi­cer and Somesh took place in the CBI of­fice. The CBI of­fi­cer has also in­formed the CVC that his phone call logs and tower po­si­tion could be checked to ver­ify his lo­ca­tion.

Asthana is learnt to have shared his com­plete travel de­tails with the CVC to seek dis­missal of al­le­ga­tions against him in the FIR.

Sana has al­leged that in De­cem­ber 2017, Manoj Prasad in­formed him about his con­nec­tions in CBI fol­low­ing which the mid­dle­man’s brother Somesh called a CBI of­fi­cer (re­fer­ring to Asthana) over phone in his pres­ence. The CBI of­fi­cer, Sana claims, as­sured him that his prob­lem would be solved. This con­ver­sa­tion, ac­cord­ing to FIR, hap­pened af­ter De­cem­ber 2, 2017.

In­ter­est­ingly, Asthana had ac­cused CBI di­rec­tor Alok Verma of hav­ing taken bribes from Sana. The pro­moter of Play­boy Club in Hy­der­abad claims he then paid Rs 1 crore to Manoj in Dubai and Rs 1.95 crore to one Su­nil Mit­tal on De­cem­ber 13, 2017 in the park­ing of Press Club of In­dia in Delhi. The busi­ness­man fur­ther al­leged that af­ter the pay­ment ma­te­ri­alised, Somesh trav­elled to In­dia on De­cem­ber 14.

Ac­cord­ing to Sana, in next one or two days, Somesh called him to say he would call from the CBI of­fi­cer’s room. “Within 5 min­utes, Somesh again called me on my Dubai num­ber and asked me to lis­ten to the con­ver­sa­tion and he kept the phone/ call on line to make me hear the con­ver­sa­tion,” Sana al­leged. Sana says “Somesh in­formed me that I had lis­tened to the voice of Shri Rakesh Asthana”.

How­ever, sources say, Asthana has in­formed CVC that he left for Lon­don on De­cem­ber 3 to at­tend ini­tial ex­tra­di­tion trial hear­ings per­tain­ing to case against fugi­tive busi­ness­man Vi­jay Mallya.

Asthana has claimed that he re­turned to Delhi on De­cem­ber 15 only and the next two days, he didn’t at­tend of­fice. He has re­port­edly at­tached his travel doc­u­ments along with his writ­ten state­ment. He has fur­ther con­veyed to the com­mis­sion that the “fab­ri­cated” FIR against him was planned par­tic­u­larly af­ter he ex­posed CBI di­rec­tor’s cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties.

PTI

Rakesh Asthana said he was in Lon­don be­tween De­cem­ber 2 and 14, 2017, which was when the al­leged bribe was paid

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