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Rakesh Asthana bribery case: Delhi High Court raps CBI for delay

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New Delhi, Jan 08: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the CBI director to be present before it on February 10 if the agency fails to complete an investigation into the bribery case allegedly involving its then special director Rakesh Asthana.

Rakesh Asthana bribery case: Delhi High Court raps CBI for delay

Justice Vibhu Bakhru pulled up the CBI for repeatedly seeking extension of time to complete its investigation in the case. The court passed the order while hearing the CBI's plea seeking further extension of time to complete the probe and said if the probe is completed before the next date of hearing, that is February 10, its application would become infructuous and no assistance of any officer would be required by the court.

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The CBI had last month told the court that it needed more time to complete the probe in the case. The agency had said that there were eight stages of scrutiny, of which just four had been completed.

On January 11, 2019, the high court had granted the CBI 10 weeks' time to complete the investigation. It granted the agency four more months on May 31, 2019 to conclude the probe. Then on October 9, 2019, while granting two months more, the court said that the investigation could not be delayed indefinitely and that it should have been completed.

Asthana, the agency's then Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar and businessman Manoj Prasad were booked on allegations of criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Kumar, earlier the investigating officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, was arrested on allegations of forgery in recording the statement of Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, who had allegedly paid a bribe to get relief in the case.

He was arrested on October 22, 2018 and granted bail on October 31, 2018. The high court had in January 2019 disposed of three petitions of Asthana, Kumar and Prasad by a common order in which the CBI was directed to complete the investigation in the case within 10 weeks.

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