The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) gave a clean chit to Rakesh Asthana, former special director of this investigating agency, in a case of bribery and extortion on Tuesday, 11 February. Apart from Asthana, R&AW chief Samant Goel and DSP Devendra Kumar have also been given a clean chit.
A charge sheet has been filed against CBI Judge Sanjeev Kumar against Dubai businessman and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad in this 2018 case. The CBI said that there is a need to investigate against Manoj Prasad’s brother Somesh Prasad and Sunil Mittal. DSP Devendra Kumar was arrested in 2018, who later got bail. This case was registered during the time of former CBI director Alok Verma. Asthana denied the charge and accused Alok Verma of taking money. In one round, the quarrel between Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana also came openly in the public space.
A senior CBI officer said,
‘No role has been revealed in the investigation of these officers. As far as other people are concerned, a charge sheet has been filed against one, investigation is going on against the others. Letters have been written against evidence in other countries.
The CBI had to file a charge sheet in 60 days, in which it had failed. After this, Manoj Prasad was granted bail by a Delhi court in December 2018.
What is the whole matter
This case is related to meat exporter Moin Qureshi. He is accused of tax evasion, money laundering, and corruption. CBI and ED are investigating against Qureshi. The name of Hyderabad’s meat businessman Satish Babu Sana also came up in this case. On October 15, 2018, the CBI had filed a case against the then Special Director Rakesh Asthana and DSP Devendra Kumar on charges of taking a bribe of two crore rupees from Sana.
After this matter reached the High Court. The court rejected Asthana and Devendra’s demand for the cancellation of the FIR and ordered the CBI to investigate. Both were accused that they took a bribe to give relief to Satish Sana in the case. Asthana denied this charge. DSP Devendra Kumar was also arrested but later got bail.
Devendra Kumar Moin Qureshi was the Investigating Officer in the case. Sana was arrested by the ED in July 2018 in the Moin Qureshi case. Asthana was then heading the SIT to investigate. Asthana had demanded Sana’s arrest. There were also allegations on Sana that she also bribed the then CBI director Alok Verma to get relief in the case.
On October 15, 2018, Sana complained to Rakesh Asthana and Devendra Kumar in questioning. Sana alleged that on behalf of Asthana, brothers living in Dubai- Manoj and Somesh asked for Rs 5 crore so that Sana could get relief in the Moin Qureshi case. In this case, two former CBI directors AP Singh and Ranjit Singh are already under the CBI investigation.
Rakesh Asthana is an officer of Gujarat cadre
Rakesh Asthana is a 1984 batch IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre. Rakesh Asthana has been the SP of the Anti-Corruption Branch of CBI in Dhanbad. He also served as DIG in Ranchi. In 1994, he supervised the field investigation of the sensational Purulia Arms Drop Case. After this, he was entrusted with the investigation of the famous fodder scam in Bihar and he arrested Lalu Yadav. It was Asthana who caught the DGMS Director-General in Dhanbad taking a bribe.
Rakesh Asthana had also investigated the Godhra incident, which was also accepted by the SIT formed under the leadership of RK Raghavan on the direction of the Supreme Court. Rakesh was given the responsibility to investigate the bomb blast in Ahmedabad on 26 July 2008. He settled the case within 22 days.
Asthana had also investigated the case of Asaram and his son Narayan Sai. Narayan Sai, who is absconding, was caught on the Haryana-Delhi border. Asthana was made the additional director of CBI, after which he was the most discussed. The battle between the CBI chief Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana was witnessed by the whole world when they both accused each other of taking a bribe of Rs 2 crore. He was later sent on leave.
In January 2019, when the controversy increased, Rakesh Asthana was made the Director-General of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.