Bassi targets Asthana with call transcripts, messages

Bassi targets Asthana with call transcripts, messages

CBI Deputy SP A K Bassi outside CBI headquaters, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018. Bassi has been shunted to Port Blair in "public interest" with "immediate effect". (PTI Photo)

A suspected middleman telling his father-in-law that CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana is "our man" and a senior RAW official purportedly telling the middleman not to come to India "at any cost".

Such excerpts of tapped telephonic conversations and records of calls made between Asthana, RAW Special Secretary Samant Goel and the suspected middlemen-brothers Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad form part of a petition filed by CBI Deputy Superintendent of Police A K Bassi, who was investigating Asthana prior to his transfer, in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The petition, which is the latest in the series after the factional feud between CBI Director Alok Verma and Asthana in CBI reached a crescendo, seeks quashing of Bassi's transfer to Port Blair as well as a probe by a Special Investigation Team while claiming that the present investigator Sathish Dagar could tamper with evidence he collected.


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Bassi had registered the FIR against Asthana, DySP Devender Kumar and Prasad brothers on charges of extortion and forgery in connection with an investigation into controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi. The FIR was based on a Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Sana who claimed that he was forced to pay a bribe to Asthana in the case.

However, there is a counterclaim that Kumar, under the supervision of Asthana, had recorded Sana's statement which claimed that Verma took the bribe from the businessman.

According to the petition, the statement which Kumar claimed to have recorded as that of Sana was not genuine. While Kumar claimed the statement was recorded by Sana accusing Verma of taking the bribe on September 26, Bassi said that the businessman was in Hyderabad on that day.

"The concerned steno was examined which revealed that the Section 161 CrPC statement of Sana was not typed by her. Examination of Kumar by the Supervising SP revealed that the statement was mostly typed in the computer of Joint Director Sai Manohar/Rakesh Asthana by Kumar himself," he claimed.

In his petition, Bassi, who is considered close to Verma, claimed that the investigators had kept Somesh's phone on surveillance, which caught him talking to his father-in-law Sunil Mittal and the RAW officer. Providing excerpts, Bassi claimed that Somesh told Mittal that Asthana is "our man" and that Manoj had met him "3-4 times".

In one of the conversations, purportedly after the registration of the FIR on October 15, Somesh had told Mittal that the RAW officer met Asthana and that they were "very close". The excerpts also record one call from Goel to Somesh in which the former purportedly asked the latter not to come to India at any cost.

Bassi also claimed in his petition that call detail records were studied and it showed that after the news of DySP Kumar broke on October 16, Somesh made immediate calls to Goel, who in turn dialled Asthana. There were nine calls among the three between 10:09 PM on October 16 and 1:09 PM the next day.

The Somesh's first call to Goel was the most lengthy at 454 seconds while the shortest was between Asthana and Goel, which counted 40 seconds.

Bassi said the FIR was based on Sana who had claimed that he was pressurised by Kumar and the Prasad brothers on behalf of Asthana. Bassi claimed that Rs 3.31 crore between December 2017 and October 2018.

He also claimed that examination of Manoj's phone showed that he had not deleted many of the WhatsApp messages since March 2017. Some of the messages, Bassi claimed, spoke about Somesh asking Manoj to take the payment and why there was a delay.

In one of WhatsApp messages, Somesh asked Manoj to "put pressure" on Sana as he "cannot take panga (don't mess) with them...too powerful people". Another message was with an unidentified person, who said "the boss was not happy with the present situation and that much relief was given than what he expected".

Bassi claimed that these evidences are with the CBI but "there is a strong chance that they may not place the same on record". 

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