Rakesh Asthana Faces Arrest as Delhi High Court Refuses to Quash FIR Against CBI No 2
File image of CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana | (Photo Credits: PTI)

New Delhi, January 11: The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to quash an FIR registered against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana and suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Devender Kumar. Dismissing Rakesh Asthana and Devender Kumar's pleas seeking quashing of the FIR, the court said the probe into corruption charges needs to continue expeditiously.

Asthana could be arrested following the development. Following the court's judgment, Asthana's lawyer sought interim protection for two weeks. However, Justice Najmi Waziri rejected the request but asked the CBI to maintain status quo for two weeks. The judge also directed the CBI to conclude investigation against Asthana within 10 weeks.

The CBI had registered an FIR against Asthana, Kumar, Manoj Prasad and Someshwar Prasad on October 15 last year, alleging that bribes were taken by them at least five times in December 2017 and October 2018. The FIR was registered following a complaint by Sathish Babu Sana, a witness in the businessman Moin Qureshi case.

In the FIR, the CBI had alleged Kumar fabricated the statement of Satish Sana, showing he recorded the statement on September 26, 2018, in Delhi. However, an investigation revealed that Sana was not in Delhi on that day. He was in Hyderabad and joined the investigation only on October 1, 2018. Kumar fabricated the statement to corroborate baseless allegations made by Rakesh Asthana against then CBI special director Alok Kumar Verma to CVC, the agency had alleged.

Asthana, a 1984-batch IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre, is accused of accepting a bribe of Rs 2 crore from a businessman who was being probed in the Qureshi case to "wreck" the investigation. The case was being examined by a special investigation team headed by Asthana. Verma and Asthana were divested of their charge after they accused each other of taking bribes.

In a partial relief to CBI Director Alok Verma, the Supreme Court on Tuesday restored him as the agency chief by setting aside the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Centre's decision to divest him of his powers to function as its head. However, the selection committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday removed him from the top post.