HC orders CBI to maintain status quo on proceedings against Spl Director Asthana

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 24 Oct 2018 08:37:02



THE Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the CBI to maintain status quo on the criminal proceedings initiated against its special director Rakesh Asthana, who has challenged the FIR lodged against him on bribery allegations. Although the CBI cannot arrest Asthana till October 29, the next date of hearing, the High Court clarified that there is no stay on the probe considering the nature and gravity of the case.

Besides Asthana, the agency’s Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, who was arrested by the CBI on Monday, has also filed a separate petition seeking quashing of the FIR. Justice Najmi Waziri issued notices and sought responses  of the probe agency and its Director Alok Kumar Verma as also Joint Director A K Sharma on both the petitions.

The notice has also been issued to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which has jurisdiction over
the CBI and its permission is required for investigations against bureaucrats.The order asking the agency to maintain the status quo, till October 29, has been issued on the plea of Asthana only. The High Court, which heard the matter for 20 minutes, asked both Rakesh Asthana and Kumar to preserve the records which  are in their custody, including mobile phones.The court listed the matter for October 29 after CBI’s counsel K Raghavacharyulu sought time to bring on record various sections under which the FIR was lodged.

During the hearing, CBI said charges against Asthana are serious and the agency was investigating the matter and is likely to add more offences in the FIR. Senior advocate Amrendra Sharan and advocate Amit Anand Tiwari, appearing for Asthana, said it is a case of malafide and illegal registration of FIR against the Special CBI Director which is based on the statement of an accused. He said there was “utmost urgency” and great amount of “sorrow” in the matter.

To this, the judge said this was not the stage to examine the allegation of malafide.
Asthana’s counsel said DoPT’s sanction is required to proceed against the officers and no permission was sought from the department. When the court asked whether there was any bar on registration of FIR, Sharan said any investigation done without permission is illegal and barred.
Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, who appeared for Kumar, also sought quashing of the FIR against the officer.
CBI’s counsel said the FIR was registered under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act and the IPC, including criminal conspiracy, and they have added more sections against the accused relating to extortion and forgery.

When CBI counsel remarked that if there is pest in wood, the wood becomes useless, the judge interjected and asked the advocate not to make such statements in court.


CBI suspends DSP Devender


THE Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday suspended its Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Devender Kumar, who was arrested on Monday on the charge of falsification of records while probing allegations against meat exporter Moin Qureshi, and added five new sections into the existing bribery FIR lodged against its Special Director Rakesh Asthana. “Devender Kumar has been suspended from his duties as per the procedure,” a CBI official said.Kumar, an Investigating Officer in a case against Qureshi, who is facing multiple cases of money laundering and corruption, was arrested on Monday on the charge of falsification of records. A trial court on Tuesday sent Kumar to CBI custody for seven days.

The CBI said it has added five new sections under Indian Penal Code, comprising extortion and forgery of documents, in the bribery FIR it had registered against Asthana, Kumar and two private persons -- Manoj Prasad and his brother Somesh Prasad -- on October 15. The agency said it has also informed the trial court regarding the move.

CBI Spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said the move is a “routine procedure” and that new sections are added in any FIR when new evidences come to light.
A copy of the earlier FIR has already been sent to the Central Vigilance Commission, said the CBI. The premier probe agency has alleged that bribes were taken at least five times between December 2017 and October this year. Asthana, a 1984 batch Indian Police Service officer of Gujarat cadre, is accused of accepting a bribe of Rs two crore from a Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana who was under probe in the Qureshi case in order to “wreck” the investigation.