CBI names its No.2 Rakesh Asthana in bribery case

Highlights:

  • India’s one of the top most autonomous body ,the Central Bureau of Investigation has named its second-in-command Rakesh Asthana as an accused in a bribery case along with another agency official and two private persons.
  • Those named as accused in the FIR are Mr. Asthana, CBI Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, Dubai-based investment banker Manoj Prasad and his brother Somesh Prashad. 
  • More than Rs.3 crore in bribes were paid by the complainant for getting relief in a case against meat exporter Moin Qureshi and others.
  • Rakesh Asthana is accused of accepting a bribe of Rs. 2 crore in a case that also involves businessman Moin Qureshi.
  • The agency alleges that bribes were taken in five instalments in December 2017 and October 2018 to give a clean chit to the Hyderabad businessman.
  • As alleged,Rs.1 crore was paid on December 10 and Rs.1.95 crore on December 13 last; Rs.25 lakh on October 10; and 55, 000 dirhams on October 14.
  • Accused Somesh handled Mr. Asthana’s investments in Dubai and London.
  • The amended provision of the Prevention of Corruption Act, which mandates prior approval for initiating a probe against senior government functionaries, would not apply in the case of Mr. Asthana.
  • According to the FIR, the businessman was summoned in the Moin Qureshi case several times for questioning on a Rs.50 lakh transaction in 2011.
  • During a trip to Dubai, he met Manoj who allegedly got him in touch with his brother for getting relief from CBI summonses.
  • The FIR alleges that Somesh, after talking to a CBI official on the phone, demanded Rs.3 crore as the initial amount and Rs.2 crore after the filing of the charge sheet in the case.
  • Subsequently, the businessman allegedly paid about Rs.3 crore through middlemen.
  • However, on September 25 this year, he was stopped at the airport as a look-out circular had been issued against him when he along with his family was to board a flight from Hyderabad to Paris.
  • Before the present complaint was filed, Mr. Asthana filed a complaint against the CBI Director before the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), accusing him of interfering in a corruption case involving family members of RJD leader Lalu Prasad.
  • In August this year, Mr. Asthana wrote to the Cabinet Secretary bringing to his notice certain corrupt practices within the CBI.
  • Earlier, Mr. Asthana is facing bribery allegations and his name had surfaced in the Sandesara brothers’ case.
  • The Vadodara-based businessmen Sandesara brothers are now abroad, evading probe and arrests by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly defrauding banks of Rs.5,200 crore.
  • The CBI is investigating its two former chiefs A.P. Singh and Ranjit Sinha in other cases.