CBI feud turns murkier, officer drops big names

The war within the CBI turned more sensational on Monday, amid claims in the Supreme Court that Minister of State Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary took a bribe of a “few crores of rupees” to settle a case and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval intervened in the probe against Special Director Rakesh Asthana. PTI file photo

The war within the CBI turned more sensational on Monday, amid claims in the Supreme Court that Minister of State Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary took a bribe of a “few crores of rupees” to settle a case and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval intervened in the probe against Special Director Rakesh Asthana.

Chief Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdhary and Law Secretary Suresh Chandra are also on the firing line as senior IPS officer Manish Kumar Sinha, who was monitoring the case against Asthana, approached the Supreme Court challenging his transfer soon after Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana were sent on leave.

Besides, the petition also mentions that Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha wanted to "convey" a message to the petitioner in the case against Asthana.

Sinha's petition is the latest in a series of pleas after Verma approached the Supreme Court against the government's decision to send him on leave after the infighting in the agency with the Director and Special Director in lead roles reached a crescendo. Sinha, considered close to Verma, was transferred to Nagpur by interim Director M Nageshwar Rao.

The officer provides a series of allegations against Doval based on the interrogation of Manoj Prasad, who was arrested in connection with the Asthana FIR, his interactions with Verma and follow-up investigations.

In his petition, Sinha claimed that Doval has informed Asthana about the registration of an FIR against him on October 17 night after Verma briefed the former about it. Following this, Asthana requested that he should not be arrested.


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As the investigation team requested for searches, the petition said, Verma told them that “he was not getting clearance” from Doval. During the searches at CBI, Sinha also claimed that the investigation team received a call from Verma “instructing” them “to stop the search”.

Sinha said he asked Verma the reason for such an action, to which the Director “replied that this instruction has come” from Doval.

Quoting Prasad, Sinha also points finger at Doval for India withdrawing from a contest in Interpol for a post. Verma's confidante and Joint Director A K Sharma was running for the post. When arrested, Prasad had boasted about his connections with the “high and mighty”, including Doval.

Sinha based the statement of Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Sana, on whose complaint the FIR was registered, to claim that the Minister of State for Coal Chaudhary took a bribe in the first fortnight of June 2018.

Quoting Sana, the petition claimed, “a few crores of rupees were paid to Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary” and that he had “intervened with the senior officers of CBI through the office of the Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension to whom, apparently, the Director CBI reports to.” He also claimed the money was paid through one Vipul of Ahmedabad.

Sinha said he was “aware of the information only to the extent that the bribe money was allegedly paid to the Minister only and the applicant is not privy to any information whether any part of that bribe money was paid to any other higher-up in the CBI.”

In another damning accusation, the CVC is claimed to have met Sana with one Gorantala Ramesh in connection with the Qureshi case. Chowdhary called Asthana to his residence where the latter told him that there was not much evidence against Ramesh, the petition claimed.

The CVC was conducting the probe against Verma on the Supreme Court's instructions and had recorded the statement of Sana recently.

Law Secretary Chandra's name also figures in the petition where he is said to have reached out to Sana when the CVC probe was on against Verma. On November 8, Sana was first approached by an IAS officer Rekha Rani who informed him Chandra, who was in London, wanted to speak to him.

The petition also said Sana spoke to Chandra over WhatsApp and the latter claiming that he was trying to convey Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha's message that the Centre will offer him full protection. 

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CBI feud turns murkier, officer drops big names

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