Did RAW official 'manage' case against Rakesh Asthana?

Did RAW official 'manage' case against Rakesh Asthana?

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Director Rakesh Asthana at Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

A senior CBI official's petition in Supreme Court in connection with the war within the agency has mentioned a claim by a RAW official about managing the case involving Special Director Rakesh Asthana with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

The claim appears in the petition filed on Monday by senior CBI official M K Sinha, who was transferred on October 23 after the government sent CBI Director Alok Verma and Asthana on leave following the factional feud. Sinha was supervising the investigation against Asthana.

Sinha also claimed that there were enquiries from the Cabinet Secretariat through Delhi Police's Special Cell whether one of the accused was placed under arrest in the case.

According to the petition, CBI Special Unit DIG informed Sinha about a conversation RAW official Samant Goel had with an unidentified person on October 23. Goel could not be contacted for his comments.

"The applicant (Sinha) herein was informed by DIG/DD (SU) that someone spoke to Samant Goel (who was at Chandigarh at that time) and asked to help him to which Samant Goel replied that things have been managed with PMO and everything is fine. The same night the entire investigating team was shifted," it claimed.

The RAW official is claimed to be close to Asthana and the family of a suspected middleman Manoj Prasad, who was arrested in the case. The CBI official claimed that the agency had telephone intercepts of Goel with Asthana and Manoj's family after the registration of the case and the arrest.

The CBI FIR alleged that Manoj and his brother Somesh Prasad acted on behalf of Asthana to pressurise a Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Sana to pay bribes to help in a probe involving him.

The petition also claimed Somesh was using Singapore, London and Dubai numbers while Manoj had "huge money in the bank accounts which he was trying clear after his arrest". Sinha claimed in the petition that the Investigating Officer had prepared a list of accounts as well as a letter to be sent to banks.

"The team was shunted out and I am not aware of the subsequent developments. Investigation, if conducted, may lead to heavy money trail," Sinha said in the petition.

Another claim in the petition was that Somesh was talking to the RAW official "very freely on normal mobile channel which is vulnerable to interception and that Samant Goel was one of the persons talking freely to Somesh on mobile". The petition said, "this was discussed that this may imperil and hurt our national security interest."

Sinha also claimed that the first Investigating Officer in the Asthana case, A K Bassi, on October 17 got a call from Deputy Commissioner of Police of Delhi Police's Special but he did not take the call. "Later another Inspector of Special Cell called up and sought to know if Manoj has been arrested. Enquiries revealed that the query had originated from Cabinet Secretariat," he claimed.



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