New Delhi: In a big setback to CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, the Delhi High Court refused to quash the FIR lodged against him on bribery allegations and set Friday a a 10-week deadline to complete the investigations.
Holding that permission for prior sanction to prosecute Asthana was not required considering the facts of the case, the court vacated its interim order that granted the CBI’s No. 2 protection against criminal proceedings which in effect meant there is no bar on his arrest. Asthana is likely to challenge the High Court verdict before the Supreme Court.
Justice Najmi Waziri also refused to quash the FIR lodged against CBI Deputy Superintendent Devender Kumar and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad.
The judge further said that the allegation of ‘mala fide’ raised against the then CBI Director Alok Verma has not been made out.
The High Court gave its verdict while dismissing the petitions filed by Asthana, Kumar and Prasad challenging the FIR lodged against them. Asthana was booked on charges of criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct under the relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.
Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, on whose complaint the FIR against Asthana and others was lodged, had alleged having paid bribe to get relief in a case. Sana had also made allegations of corruption, extortion, high-handedness and serious malpractice against Asthana.
Justice Waziri had reserved the judgement, December 20, 2018 on various petitions after hearing submissions of the counsel for CBI, the Centre, Asthana, Kumar, Verma and Joint Director AK Sharma.