CBI No. 2 Rakesh Asthana to face bribery probe: The case so far

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to quash the FIR lodged against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana on bribery allegations and vacated its interim order granting him protection against criminal proceedings.

Justice Najmi Waziri also refused to quash the FIR lodged against CBI Deputy Superintendent Devender Kumar and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad.

The judge said that permission for prior sanction to prosecute Asthana and Kumar was not required considering the facts of the case.

The high court directed the CBI to complete investigation in case against Asthana and others within 10 weeks.

It further said that the allegation of “mala fide” raised against then CBI Director Alok Verma has not been made out.

Verma and Asthana were at loggerheads for several months and had levelled charges of corruption against each other.

The high court dismissed the petitions filed by Asthana, Kumar and Prasad challenging the FIR lodged against them. Asthana was booked on charges of criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct under sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Case history

2016

April: Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana appointed Additional Director of CBI.

December 3: Asthana made interim CBI director after retirement of then chief Anil Sinha.

2017

January 19: Alok Kumar Verma appointed CBI chief for a tenure of two years.

October 22, 2017: CBI appoints Asthana as Special Director.

2018

July 12: While Verma was abroad, CVC calls a meeting to discuss promotions, seeks to know who will attend it. CBI responds Asthana has no mandate to represent Verma.

August 24: Asthana complains to Cabinet Secretary, alleging misconduct by Verma. Matter referred to CVC.

September 21: CBI tells CVC Asthana was facing probe in six cases of corruption.

October 15: CBI lodges FIR with bribery allegations against Asthana, Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, Dubai-based investment banker Manoj Prasad and his brother Somesh Prasad.

October 16: CBI arrests middleman Manoj Prasad.

October 20: CBI raids Kumar’s residence and office at its headquarters, claims to have seized his mobile phones and iPads.

October 22: CBI arrests Kumar alleging he “fabricated the statement” of businessman Sathish Sana, facing probe in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, and had paid bribes to get relief.

October 23: Kumar moves HC seeking quashing of FIR against him. Hours later, Asthana too moves high court seeking quashing of FIR against him and direction to CBI not to take coercive steps against him. Delhi HC orders status quo regarding Asthana, seeking response of CBI, Verma on both pleas.

October 26: Alleged middleman Manoj Prasad, arrested in connection with bribery allegations involving Asthana, moves HC seeking quashing of an FIR registered against him.

October 29: HC orders CBI to maintain status quo on proceedings against Asthana, who was sent on leave by government, till November 1.

October 29: HC seeks CBI’s response on middleman Manoj Prasad’s plea seeking quashing of FIR against him in the bribery case involving Asthana.

November 1: CBI tells HC that the FIR on bribery allegations against Asthana and others shows cognisable offences.

November 1: HC extends till Nov 14 its order asking CBI to maintain status quo on proceedings against Asthana.

November 28: HC allows then CBI Director Alok Verma and Joint Director A K Sharma to inspect in the CVC’s office the case file relating to FIR against Asthana.

November 28: HC allows Verma and Sharma to inspect in the CVC’s office the case file relating to FIR against Asthana.

December 7: Asthana claims in court that prior government nod was needed for lodging FIR against him and DSP Devender Kumar, a submission which was vehemently denied by his senior.

December 11: HC seeks CBI’s response on plea by Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, a complainant in the FIR, seeking to be heard in the matter

December 20: HC reserves its verdict on pleas of Asthana and others seeking quashing of FIR against them.

2019

January 10: Devender Kumar moves HC against Verma’s decision to reverse transfer orders of various officers.

January 11: HC refuses to quash the FIR lodged against Asthana, Kumar and alleged middleman Prasad. Vacates interim order granting protection from criminal proceedings.