Union Law Secretary Satish Chandra is now facing allegations of approaching a complainant at the behest of Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha in a controversial case involving CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana.
Chandra is claimed to have contacted businessman Satish Sana from London, where he was for "some work related to Nirav Modi case", in the midst of a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) probe against Verma to “convey (a) message” from the Cabinet Secretary assuring him "full protection". He also told Sana that there will be “big change” on November 13 after the Supreme Court heard the case.
These claims form part of a petition filed by senior CBI official M K Sinha in the Supreme Court while challenging his transfer from New Delhi to Nagpur in the midst of his investigation against Asthana, which was registered on a complaint filed by Sana. Verma had cleared the registration of the case against Asthana, who had alleged that the former took bribe from Sana.
Verma and Asthana were sent on leave on October 22 and officials investigating the Special Director were transferred after interim Director M Nageshwar Rao took charge the next day.
Chandra is claimed to have approached Sana through an Andhra cadre IAS officer Rekha Rani, whose premises the businessman had rented, according to Sinha's petition. The Cabinet Secretary, Chandra and Rani could not be contacted for their comments.
Sana also told Sinha that Rani was tasked by Chandra to ensure that Sana was “helpful, that all his future problems will be taken care”.
Sinha, who is perceived to be close to Verma, said this conversation took place with Sana, who had claimed that he was harassed at the behest of Asthana during investigations against controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi and that he had to pay bribes running into over Rs three crore, after he was transferred out of Delhi.
The official claimed that Chandra "waded into the issue" while the proceedings were going on in the CVC against Verma following a direction by the Supreme Court. The CVC was asked to file a report on Asthana's complaint against Verma where he alleged that the Director took Rs two crore bribe from Sana to settle the case among other claims.
The petition claimed Sana was "repeatedly approached" by Rani claiming that Chandra, who was in London, wanted to speak to him and shared his contact number there. "Sana spoke to him on Whatsapp on the evening of November 8....Chandra said...he was trying to contact him for last 4/5 days in order to convey a message of Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha that the Union Government will offer full protection to him...," it said.
Chandra is also claimed to have told there will be a drastic change on Tuesday (November 13) and that he (Sana) should meet him (Suresh Chandra) on Wednesday (November 14). He also assured Sana that "even IB (Intelligence Bureau) is not able to track his (Sana) movement" while claiming that he also tried to communicate the message through one Chamundeshwarnath with whom he met in his London hotel.
The Supreme Court had set November 12 as the date of hearing on Verma's petition challenging the government decision to send him on leave.
According to Sinha, Chandra enquired with Rani on November 13 about Sana. "It appears that Suresh Chandra was more forthcoming this time and requested Rekha Rani to ensure that Sana be helpful, that all his future problems will be taken care of and that he should be brought to Delhi on Thursday or Friday (November). This last (previous) sentence is as disclosed to Sana by Rekha Rani," it said.