War in the CBI: Modi set to intervene, speak to chief and deputy
New Delhi, Oct 22: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to intervene in the spat between the two top officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation. The PM is said to have summoned CBI director, Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana.
While there is not much the government can do in such cases, it could however advise the officers to set aside their differences and more importantly tell them not to go public. This is largely because the Supreme Court has clearly marked the jurisdiction of the CBI and often spoken about its automony.
Last month Verma had gone on to accuse Asthana of intimidating officers who were probing corruption cases against him. Now in another development, the CBI named its special director, Asthana as an accused in a bribery scandal.
The case on hand relates to the one against Moin Qureshi, a meat exporter who has been under the scanner of both the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED). Both Asthana and Verma have not been on the same page where this case is concerned. Recently both had disagreed on a particular file in this case. The disagreement was over whether the proposal of the CBI officials to seek custodial interrogation of four accused should be sent to the CBI's Director of Prosecution or not.
Verma felt that the file should be examined by the DoP, while Asthana was opposed to the idea.
New trouble emerged between the top two after the CBI named Asthana for allegedly demanding and taking bribe from a businessman who was under investigation in the Moin Qureshi corruption case by a special investigation team headed by Asthana.
It may be recalled that the CBI had informed the Central Vigilance Commission that it was probing Asthana in six cases of corruption.
The CBI moved against Asthana following the arrest of a Dubai based middleman Manoj Prasad. Moin Qureshi was raided by the Income Tax department in 2014 and his messages with former CBI director A P Singh had led to Singh's resignation as member of the Union Public Services Commission. In 2017, the CBI registered a case and this was one of the many major cases being handled by Asthana.
A complainant in the case, Sana Satish had on October 4 named Asthana before the Magistrate. He also claimed that he was being harassed by CBI officers to pay more. It was also detained how Rs 3 crore had been paid over a period of 10 months from December 2017 onwards.