#CBIvsCBI: Special Director Asthana seeks Delhi HC's protection
On Tuesday, CBI's second-in-command, Special Director Rakesh Asthana approached the Delhi High Court to seek protection against arrest in an alleged bribery case against him.
Asthana's plea came just hours after CBI Deputy Superintendent of Police (SP) Devender Kumar, who was arrested yesterday, asked the Delhi High Court to cancel the bribery case filed against them.
Here are the details.
CBI vs CBI: The story so far
Deputy SP Kumar calls the bribery case false
In his petition, Deputy SP Devender Kumar told a Delhi HC bench of of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao that he was being made a "scapegoat", and that the bribery allegations against himself, Asthana, and others was false and frivolous.
Kumar added that he had been an "upright police officer" all his life, and had an exemplary service record.
Last week, CBI filed an FIR against Asthana and others
The entire episode started last week when the CBI lodged an FIR naming Asthana and Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) second-in-command, Special Director Samant Kumar Goel, in a bribery case associated with the Moin Qureshi corruption scandal.
However, unlike Asthana, Goel wasn't named as an accused party, and his role in the bribery scandal is being investigated.
It was alleged that Asthana took bribes.
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The FIR was based on a testimony by a businessman
On October 4, Hyderabad-based businessman Sana Satish gave a statement in court naming Asthana, Dubai-based middleman Manoj Prasad, and Prasad's relative Somesh Srivastava.
Satish, whose role in the Qureshi case is under investigation, alleged that he had paid Rs. 3cr to the aforementioned parties over 10 months to stay away from the CBI investigation, which was being conducted by an SIT headed by Asthana.
The CBI also raided its own headquarters to find evidence
Subsequently, on October 22, the CBI, in an unprecedented move, raided its own headquarters seeking evidence in the case, and arrested Deputy SP Devender Kumar.
The CBI alleged that Kumar had forged a statement by Satish that cast aspersions on CBI Director Alok Verma.
The CBI also said that the forged statement corroborated "baseless allegations" of bribery that Asthana had made against Verma in August this year.
The infighting has been politicized; PM Modi under fire
Meanwhile, the infighting in the CBI has drawn the attention of political parties.
Opposition parties, especially the Congress, have hit out at PM Modi who reportedly has a soft spot for Asthana, citing his hand in institutional decay.
However, PM Modi has taken a neutral stand in the case, and has reportedly told CBI chief Alok Verma to 'let the law take its course'.