CBI chief trying to falsely implicate me in bribery case to hide his misconduct: Asthana tells court
New Delhi, Oct 23: CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana Tuesday accused the agency's chief, Alok Kumar Verma, of trying to "falsely implicate" him in a bribery case to "hide" his own alleged criminal misconduct of influencing investigations in lieu of money.
Agency's Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, who was arrested Monday in a case involving Asthana, also alleged the proceedings are not only a shocking portrayal of misuse of authority which undermines the credibility of the institution, but also illustrates how he was made a "scapegoat" to achieve illegal goals.
Both the officers contended in separate petitions filed in the high court that when a Special Investigation Team led by Asthana proposed to arrest businessman Sathish Sana on allegation of giving bribe for influencing probe, it was not followed. Instead, an FIR was lodged against them on the basis of Sana's complaint that bribe was demanded from him, the petitions alleged, adding that illegalities were committed at the hands of the Verma and other officers of the agency.
Asthana, the second-in command in the CBI after Verma, said complainant Sana was the one who was proposed to be arrested by him and the SIT as he was found to be involved in entering into a conspiracy for slowing down the investigation against him.
"This fact is already reported and being enquired by appropriate authority. Now, this person turns back and makes the SIT itself an accused. It is pertinent to note that the officers of SIT are being prosecuted and this accused person is enjoying the freedom, liberty and protection from the highest officer of the investigating agency," the plea, seeking to quash the FIR, said.
Claiming that the prosecution launched against him was illegal and mala fide, Asthana said his petition would disclose the "shocking state of affairs and also reveal as to how the highest officer of the premier investigating agency of the country is trying to falsely implicate the petitioner, who is the second senior most officer of the agency, in order to hide his own criminal misconduct of influencing investigations in exchange for money". He claimed that the FIR was clearly mala fide and prohibited in law as no enquiry or investigation could have been taken up in this matter without prior approval of his appointing authority.
When the complaint was made by Sana on October 4, the CBI should have sought approval of the competent authority before proceeding further, as mandated under Section 17 A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the plea claimed. On the contrary, the respondents not only registered this FIR, but also raided the premises of the investigating officer, it added. Both Asthana and Kumar claimed no case was made out against them on the basis of allegations mentioned in the FIR and there was not an iota of evidence against them. They said there was no allegation that they or any public servant demanded illegal gratification and as per the FIR, it was some unconnected person said to have been demanding bribe allegedly on behalf of them.
As per the FIR, no amount was said to has been paid to the petitioner or any public servant, the petitions said, adding the FIR was frivolous. They said it was beyond imagination as to how the premier investigation agency of the country could register an FIR against its own officers without there being any cogent evidence implicating them. The pleas alleged that the sole basis of the FIR was the businessman's complaint which was made after a proposal was submitted regarding him allegedly paying bribe to the CBI director.
"It is even improbable that the petitioner (Asthana) who had himself complained about such exchange of bribe between Sana and the respondent no 2 (Verma) and forwarded the proposal of arrest and custodial interrogation of Sana, would ever conduct himself in the manner alleged in the FIR," Asthana said in his plea. Asthana and Kumar claimed there was undue haste in lodging the FIR and "frivolous" allegations of an accused (Sana) have been taken as gospel of truth by the CBI against its own officers for ulterior motives without there being any material basis.