HC extends interim order on ‘status quo’ in Asthana case


New Delhi: November 14:  The Delhi High Court on Wednesday extended the interim protection from arrest granted to Central Bureau of Investigation Special Director Rakesh Asthana till November 28 and ordered to continue the status quo in the case till the next date of hearing.

Meanwhile, CBI Joint Director A.K. Sharma’s counsel M.A. Niyazi told Justice Najmi Waziri that he has incriminating evidence against Asthana.

The court asked him to file it before the CBI. Sharma’s counsel responded that, it is turning difficult to identify who is probing the case and who is the real agency in the present scenario. The counsel sought time to file response to Asthana’s plea.

The court was hearing Asthana and suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Devender Kumar’s pleas seeking quashing of FIRs against them, saying the cases were registered against them in an illegal manner with mala fide intention.

According to the CBI, Kumar had fabricated the statement of Sana Sathish Babu, a witness in the businessman Moin Qureshi case, showing he recorded the statement on September 26 in Delhi. However, investigation revealed that Sana was not in Delhi on that day. He was in Hyderabad and joined the investigation only on October 1.

The CBI registered an FIR against Asthana, Kumar and two others. The CBI has alleged that bribes were taken at least five times between December 2017 and October 2018.

Asthana, a 1984-batch IPS officer of 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.

On October 24 CBI chief Alok Verma was divested of his charge and Joint Director M. Nageshwar Rao was made the interim Director. Asthana was also divested of all his supervisory responsibilities.

The government took the decision after Verma and Asthana accused each other of taking bribes.(IANS)