New Delhi, October 21: In what signals the deepening of the faultlines within India's top investigation agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has reportedly named its Special Director Rakesh Asthana as the "accused no. 1" in the bribery case linked to Gujarat's tainted meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
Apart from Asthana, a top official from India's external intelligence wing - RA&W - is also under the radar of CBI. However, his name has not been included yet in the FIR registered by the agency. Rafale Deal Row: 'Centre Irked With CBI Chief Alok Verma For Meeting Prashant Bhushan, Arun Shourie'.
Asthana, a Gujarat cadre officer whose seniority lies only next to CBI chief Alok Verma, is accused of accepting bribes from a Hyderabad-based businessman, who is also a suspect in the Moin Qureshi case.
The CBI, reported The Indian Express, has accessed WhatsApp texts, messages and call intercepts, which served as "evidence" against Asthana in the alleged bribery case.
While Asthana is yet to react to the allegations levelled against him, the officer had last month filed an official complaint with the Cabinet Secretary, accusing Verma and his associates of "attempting to malign" his image.
On the contrary, the CBI on September 21 had approached the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), demanding the expulsion of Asthana from the agency as he is an accused in six cases being probed by the CBI. Further, the complaint before CVC accused Asthana of "intimidating" officials and attempting to "defame" Verma.