CBI Director Alok Verma (right) and Special Director Rakesh Asthana (left) (Source: The Quint)  

CBI Feud Turns Murkier As Officer Drags Names Of Minister, Top Officials

The feud in the Central Bureau of Investigation turned murkier on Monday with a senior officer dragging the names of Ajit Doval, union minister Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary and CVC K V Chowdhury over alleged attempts to interfere in the probe against Special Director Rakesh Asthana.

MK Sinha, who was probing the FIR against Asthana, and important cases like the Punjab National Bank scam involving Nirav Modi, made a litany of sensational allegations in his petition before the Supreme Court that sought urgent hearing for quashing his transfer to Nagpur.

Advocate Sunil Fernandes, appearing for Sinha, informed a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that his client has “got some shocking revelations” in his petition and sought urgent listing and hearing Tuesday along with the plea of CBI Director Alok Verma.

“Nothing shocks us,” the bench, also comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph, shot back, as it ruled out urgent hearing and asked Fernandes to be present in the court when it will hear Verma’s plea challenging the government’s decision to divest him of duties.

KV Chowdhury did not respond to queries when his reaction was sought while Doval, the National Security Advisor, was not immediately available for comments. An official in the minister's office said he was not aware of the matter.

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Sinha claimed that as a result of his transfer to Nagpur he has been taken out of the probe team investigating the FIR against Asthana. “The transfer is arbitrary, motivated and malafide, and was made solely with the purpose and intent to victimise the officer as the investigation revealed cogent evidence against certain powerful persons,” he alleged.

In his 34-page petition, Sinha, a 2000 batch IPS officer from Andhra Pradesh cadre, alleged that the CBI director briefed Doval on Oct. 17 about registration of a case against Asthana. “Subsequently on the same night, it was informed that the NSA has informed Rakesh Asthana about registration of the FIR. It was informed that Rakesh Asthana reportedly made a request to the NSA that he should not be arrested,” the petition said.

Sinha, while supporting the affidavit of Deputy Superintendent of Police officer AK Bassi, who has also been transferred to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, claimed Bassi favoured immediate search of public servants involved in the bribery case(relating to Asthana) but the “Director CBI did not give immediate permission and reverted that the NSA has not permitted the same.”

Sinha said during interrogation of a middleman Manoj Prasad, who was arrested in the bribery case allegedly involving Asthana, the names of Doval and Samant Kumar Goel, Special Director of India’s external intelligence agency cropped up.

The CBI booked Asthana on allegations of receiving bribe from an accused Manoj Prasad probed by him in a case linked to meat exporter Moin Qureshi.