The Central Bureau of Investigtion (CBI) on Monday arrested its Deputy SP Devender Kumar in connection with bribery allegation against Special Director Rakesh Asthana, said an official.
In an unprecedented move, the CBI had booked its Special Director Rakesh Asthana for allegedly receiving bribes from middlemen to give relief to a businessman being probed by him in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
The CBI action had come two months after Asthana, the second in command in the CBI, wrote to Cabinet Secretary on August 24 alleging that the businessman had paid CBI Director Alok Verma Rs 2 crore to get relief in the case.
The matter was referred to the Central Vigilance Commission which is looking into the allegations.
While allegations and counter allegations were coming thick and fast from the camps of CBI number one and two, the agency booked Asthana under charges of criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct in a first-of-its-kind case.
Besides Asthana, the agency had also booked Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, and Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad, the purported middlemen, and other unknown officials.
They had been booked under Section 7 (public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act) and Section 13 (2) read with Section 13(1)(d) (criminal misconduct) of Prevention of Corruption Act.
They had been slapped with the amended Section 7-A of the Prevention Corruption Act (taking undue advantage to influence public servant by corrupt or illegal means or by exercise of personal influence).
The CBI informed that under these sections, no prior permission under Section 17 of the Prevention of Corruption Amendment Act is needed from the government to initiate probe against an officer.
The FIR was registered by the Anti-corruption unit of the CBI based on claims made in the complaint given by Sathish Babu Sana, Hyderabad-based businessman, who had narrated his meetings with various middlemen in New Delhi as well as Dubai before a magistrate.
He had alleged that an investment banker Manoj Prasad had assured him that he would get relief from CBI summons if he agrees to pay Rs 5 crore as bribe, the complaint, now part of FIR, alleged.
Sana had also alleged that he was assured by Prasad that his brother Somesh manages investments of Asthana in London and he is in touch with two other senior officers of various agencies.
The Hyderabad-based businessman had recorded a statement under Section 164 of criminal procedure code before a magistrate on October 4 and October 16.
The statement recorded before the magistrate are considered a confessional statement and in case the complainant withdraws from it, the prosecuting agency is well within its rights to file a perjury case.
Prasad was arrested by the agency on October 16, when he was returning from Dubai to allegedly collect an installment of the bribe.
According to the CBI, it has detected five alleged payments to middlemen by Sana — Rs 1 crore on December 10, 2017, Rs 1.95 crore on December 13, 2017, Rs 25 lakh on October 10, 2018 and two tranche of 25,000 Dirham and 3,000 Dirhan on October 14, 2018.
The agency had also alleged that it has details of file movements and periodic relief given to Sana on the payment of each installment of bribe which show a pattern of favours to the businessman, they said.
The CBI claimed that it has corroborated alleged payment with phone intercepts, WhatsApp messages recovered from the phone of middleman Manoj, and tower locations to buttress its charges.
The complaint filed by Sana mentioned that one of the middlemen made him to listen to a voice and later told him that it was Asthana, senior officer in the CBI.
However, there was no direct meeting between Sana and Asthana mentioned in the statement.
(WIth PTI inputs)
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