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Fabricated statements, nine call and the case against CBI’s Rakesh Asthana

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New Delhi, Oct 23: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday arrested its Deputy Superintendent of Police, Devender Kumar in a corruption case in which special director, Rakesh Asthana was made an accused.

The CBI accused Kumar for allegedly fabricating a statement of Hyderabad based businessman, Sathish Sana under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in the Moin Qureshi case. It was further alleged that Kumar had fabricated the statement with an intention to corroborate the baseless allegations made by Asthana against Director, Alok Verma to the Central Vigilance Commission.

Fabricated statements, nine call and the case against CBI’s Rakesh Asthana

The CBI alleged that the statement was shown to be recorded on September 26. However during this period Sana was in Hyderabad. He came to New Delhi on October 1 and his statement was recorded by the then investigating officer on October 3.

Also Read | Lie low, ensure agency's image is not tarnished, PM, NSA tell CBI chief

Sana had lodged a complaint with the CBI alleging that he was made to pay a bribe of over Rs 3 crore to relief from summonses in the Moin Qureshi case. He said that in December 2017 he met with an investment banker, Manoj Prasad in Dubai. He was promised that he would get relief in the case and was asked to pay an initial sum of Rs 3 crore and the Rs 2 crore at the time of filing the chargesheet.

He said that he had paid the advance amount.

He said that on September 25 this year, when he and his family were set to board a flight from Hyderabad to Paris, he was stopped on the basis of a look out circular. He got in touch with the Investigating Officer, who asked him to join the probe. When he contacted Prasad, he was asked to pay up the rest of the amount.

Also Read | CBI war: Asthana likely to be sent back to Gujarat

He said that he had paid Rs 25 lakh and 55,000 dirhams. He also decided to record his statement before the magistrate on October 4 alleging coercion by the CBI. The CBI then got his statement recorded before the magistrate, following which it arrested Prasad.

Nine calls:

There are nine calls that came under the CBI in this case. The CBI analysed nine calls immediately after middleman Manoj Prasad was held. The investigative agency has registered a case against Asthana on the basis of claims made by a businessman, Sathish Sana, probed by him in a separate case, that he was asked to pay a bribe of Rs 5 crore by Manoj Prasad, an investment banker based in Dubai to get relief from repeated summons and a clean chit in the case, they said.

The call data analysis suggests that the phone calls were allegedly exchanged between Asthana and a senior officer of another intelligence agency, who sought to confirm the details of the middleman's arrest.

Also Read | War between CBI's top 2 downs morale of India's premier investigating agency

The calls were also exchanged between the senior officer and the wife of the middleman Somesh Prasad, brother of the middleman Manoj Prasad and others, the CBI says. Four calls were exchanged between Asthana and the senior officer on October 17, 2018, a day after the arrest. They claimed that Somesh Prasad, "somehow" got news of the latter's arrest on October 16, 2018 and immediately called his contact, the senior officer of the intelligence agency on the same day.

A call was then made by the officer to Somesh within a minute, they claimed.

Next day, the intelligence agency officer allegedly called Asthana to purportedly know the situation.

Three more calls were exchanged between the two, the agency claimed.

The officer of the intelligence agency also spoke to the wife of Somesh Prasad, they claimed. In addition to the call exchanges, the agency is also depending heavily on the WhatsApp messages recovered from Manoj Prasad's phone, they claimed.

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