Delhi HC grants CBI two months extension in bribery case against Rakesh Asthana

DELHI : The Delhi High Court Wednesday granted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) an extension of two months to complete its investigation in a multi-crore bribery case, in which former CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana and others are accused. Justice Vibhu Bakhru, who was hearing the case, said no further time would be given to the investigative agency.

Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee, appearing for the CBI, said Letters Rogatory has been sent to the USA and UAE and the response is awaited due to which the investigation could not be completed.

He urged the court to grant three more months to complete the probe.

On May 30, the HC had given CBI four months to complete the probe.

Last week, the CBI had filed an application before the HC seeking more time to complete the investigation in the case. It also submitted in a sealed cover a “status report containing developments made in the investigation” for the court’s consideration. The agency claimed some issues relating to its investigation abroad were pending.

On October 4 that Asthana was likely to be absolvedof all charges in the case. Sources said the CBI Investigating Officer (IO) had prepared a report exonerating Asthana of all charges of corruption levelled in an FIR registered by former agency director Alok Verma, and submitted it to his superiors.

The IO, SP Satish Dagar, had in August this year applied for voluntary retirement from the agency for “personal reasons”. His application is still under process.

An FIR registered by the CBI on October 15, 2018, when Verma was director of the agency, had alleged that a suspect in the Moin Qureshi case had been forced to pay Rs 2.95 crore to Asthana through Prasad brothers to water down the case against him. The suspect, Sathish Sana Babu, was made a witness in the case by CBI.