Status quo order proceedings against Asthana extended

Status quo order proceedings against Asthana extended

Delhi High Court extends it's order till Nov 14

The Delhi High Court on Thursday extended its order till Nov 14 asking the CBI to maintain status quo on proceedings against Special Director Rakesh Asthana, allegedly involved in a bribery case. PTI File Photo

The Delhi High Court on Thursday extended its order for maintaining status quo on CBI probe against special director Rakesh Asthana in a bribery case till November 14.

Justice Najmi Waziri directed for extension of status quo, first ordered on October 23, on probe against Asthana, who has been sent on leave after an unsavoury feud with CBI director Alok Verma, even though CBI opposed his plea for quashing of the FIR registered on October 15 against him.

The agency said there was incriminating material against the special director in the case, the investigation, which was at the nascent stage, must not be impeded.

In reply to the petitions by Asthana and Deputy SP Devender Kumar who was on Wednesday granted bail by a trial court, the CBI said that it was "handicapped" in its probe against them as the case files and documents have been sent to the CVC for scrutiny following the Supreme Court's order directing the vigilance body to complete an inquiry against CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma by November 12.

Kumar, earlier the investigating officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, was arrested on the allegations of forgery in recording the statement of businessman Sathish Babu Sana who had claimed to have paid bribe to get relief in the case.

The CBI, Asthana, Kumar and the Centre opposed in the high court the plea of Additional Superintendent of Police S S Gurm to be heard in the matter.

Gurm has been transferred from Delhi to Jabalpur in the wake of a feud between Verma and Asthana.

The proceedings also witnessed a controversy when there was a verbal spat between two advocates as to who will represent the CBI in the matter.

Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee, who came for the first time since the matter came up for hearing in the high court on October 23, said he has been instructed to appear for the CBI.

Advocate K Raghavacharyulu, who has been appearing for the CBI, opposed the appearance of Banerjee, contending that he has been appointed by the agency to represent it from the beginning when the petition was filed by Asthana.

Advocate Sunil Fernandes, appearing for Gurm, said he was the officer who lodged the FIR and there were certain material facts which he wanted to bring on record as they were concealed by Asthana.

ASG Banerjee urged the court not to pass any order on it at this stage and he would seek instruction on it.

The court said it would hear on November 14, the pleas of Asthana, Kumar and Prasad and also the application of Gurm.