Was in UK for Mallya trial when alleged bribe was paid: Asthana
Calls CBI’s FIR Against Him Fabricated
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.
Rakesh Asthana said he was in London between December 2 and 14, 2017, which was when the alleged bribe was paid