India’s premier investigation agency is facing the biggest credibility crisis ever since it was formed as a special police force in 1941. It is CBI vs CBI! The agency arrested one of its own officials on Monday.
At the centre of the controversy are two highranking officials — special director Rakesh Asthana and director Alok Verma.
In a first of sorts, the CBI has registered a first information report against Asthana for allegedly accepting a Rs 3-crore bribe to settle a case against meat exporter Moin Quereshi. On his part, Asthana has levelled bribery allegations in more than a dozen cases against his boss.
The ugly fight within the CBI has already become a political potboiler, with Opposition parties pointing fingers at PM Modi for institutional decay. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has hit out at the PM, calling the CBI “an institution in terminal decline that’s at war with itself.”
ALOK VERMA VS RAKESH ASTHANA FIGHT: READ EVERYTHING IN 10 POINTS
The case lodged against Rakesh Asthana is based on a complaint from Sathish Sana claiming that he was asked to pay a bribe. Others named in the FIR include a DSP rank CBI official Devendra Kumar, middleman Manoj Prasad, his brother Somesh Prasad and some other unknown public servants.
According to the FIR, Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad met Sathish Sana in Dubai assuring him that with the help of a CBI officer, they would settle his case. Sathish Sana is a Dubai-based businessman. He is being probed by the CBI for his connection with meat exporter Moin Qureshi, who has been on the radar of multiple agencies since 2014.
Sathish alleged that Somesh made a call to an officer who claimed over phone that he would settle the case for a bribe of Rs 5 crore with Rs 3 crore as advance. Somesh told Sathish that the officer he spoke to is Rakesh Asthana and showed him his WhatsApp display picture (DP).
Sathish Sana in his complaint to the CBI said, “Believing them and to get rid of unbearable harassment and mental agony being faced by my family and me, I arranged and paid an amount of Rs 1 crore to Manoj Prasad at his office in Dubai. Thereafter, on being informed by Somesh Prasad about the details of one Sunil Mittal, I arrange payment of an amount of Rs 1.95 crore to Sunil Mittal. This payment was made on 13 December 2017 at about 9:25 pm in the parking area of the Press Club of India, New Delhi through one of my office persons namely Punit.”
Sathish sent his complaint to the CBI after he got a notice from the agency under CrPC 160 in February this year despite having paid Rs 2.95 crore as bribe. When he raised the issue with Manoj Prasad, Sathish Sana was told that he needed to pay remaining Rs 2 crore to avoid CBI notices. His complaint also claims that Rakesh Asthana has made investments in Dubai and London over the years.
As he was planning to leave for France from Hyderabad last month, Sathish was stopped from flying as a lookout circular had been issued against him. The CBI wanted him to appear before it on September 26. Sathish Sana appeared before the CBI in New Delhi on October 1 and met DSP Devendra Kumar and SP Jagroop.
“I told Manoj about this, to which he replied that this all is happening due to non-payment of balance of amount Rs 2 crore, to which I replied that the same will be made soon. Manoj Prasad informed me that he has spoken to the concerned CBI officer and he has been informed that CBI will not harass or arrest me. I was made to promise to pay Rs 2 crore on 9th morning as per instruction of Manoj Prasad. I sent an email expressing my inability to attend CBI office because of illness there has been no communication from the IO after this,” reads the statement given by Sathish Sana.
The CBI says that the latest Rs 2 crore-bribe was paid to obtain relief for Sathis Sana till October 25. Rs 25 lakh was paid on October 10 and the rest was to be paid on October 16. Middleman Manoj Prasad was arrested by the CBI on October 16 when he came to India to collect Rs 1.75 crore of the promised bribe.
Following this, an FIR was lodged against Rakesh Asthana, who responded by shooting off letters to the Cabinet Secretary and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). Asthana has written about 10 cases of alleged corruption and irregularities against CBI Director Alok Verma.
One of the case pertained to Sathish Sana. Rakesh Asthana has alleged that on August 24, Sathish Sana paid Rs 2 crore to Alok Verma to get relief in the case. The CBI called these allegations against Alok Verma as “false and malicious”.
Source- Indiatoday.in, Indiatimes.com, timesnownews.com
Internal discontent in the country’s main Investigating Agency? Drop your views in the comments section and stay connected with Awaaz Nation for all recent updates!