CBI vs CBI: The Delhi High Court is likely to pronounce its verdict today on a petition moved by special CBI director Rakesh Asthana seeking quashing of the FIR against him in connection with corruption charges levelled by CBI Director Alok Verma, now sacked. The order on pleas filed by Asthana and others was reserved by the single judge bench of Justice Najmi Waziri on December 20 last year.
In his petition challenging the FIR, Asthana said it was filed at the behest of Alok Verma. The order was reserved by the court after it heard submissions of the counsel for CBI, Centre, Asthana, Deputy Superintendent Devender Kumar, Alok Verma and Joint Director AK Sharma.
Those who have also filed petitions include Devender Kumar and middleman Manoj Prasad. Additional Superintendent of Police SS Gurm has also filed a plea in the court to be impleaded as a party.
Besides, Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana had also filed a plea seeking to be heard in the case. It was on Babu’s complaint that the FIR was filed against Asthana. The complainant had alleged that he had paid a bribe to get relief in a case. Sana had last year reportedly told the ED that he had paid Rs 1 crore to the agency through meat exporter Moin Akhtar Qureshi to get bail for friend in a CBI case. Qureshi’s name had first figured in 2014 when it was found that he visited then CBI director Ranjit Sinha’s residence at least 70 times times in over 15 months. Sinha had, however, denied all the charges.
On Thursday, Deputy Superintendent Devender Kumar who was suspended by Alok Verma soon after he was reinstated by the Supreme Court, moved a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking direction be given to the agency not to allow Verma and others to deal with the FIR lodged against him.
Verma resumed office as CBI Director on Wednesday after a gap of 77 days after being sent on forced leave. He immediately issued orders withdrawing key transfers done by senior IAS M Nageshwar Rao between October 24, 2018 and January 3 this year. Rao was appointed as the interim chief of the agency by the government after Verma was divested of his power.
On Thursday, the high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi sacked Alok Verma from his chair, a day after he was reinstated by the Supreme Court. Leader of opposition Mallikarjun Kharge and CJI are also members of the panel. However, Justice AK Sikri had represented CJI Ranjan Gogoi who had recused himself from hearing the matter because he was heading the bench that quashed the government’s order to divest Verma of his power.