CBI vs CBI: Rakesh Asthana Catches Break From Another Agency

CBI vs CBI: Rakesh Asthana Catches Break From Another Agency

CBI vs Rakesh Asthana Is War, But He Catches Break From Another Agency

New Delhi: The CBI no. 2, Rakesh Asthana, who is currently being roasted by the central agency, has scored some succor today. The Delhi High Court has been forbidden the CBI from arresting or raiding him till Monday; separately, in the case that induced allegations of his corruption, he has not been named by the Enforcement Directorate in the outline of the charges it presented in the court.

A Gujarat company, Sterling Biotech, is being investigated by both the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, for a 5,000-crore scam. The accused family, the Sandesaras allegedly cheating banks and money-laundering the loans their company was given. The Central Bureau of Investigation contends that Rakesh Asthana hosted a lavish wedding for his daughter, two years back in Gujarat and that various functions and festivities held at luxury hotels were paid for by the Sandesaras who were bribing CBI officials, including Mr Asthana, to ward off money-laundering charges. Mr Asthana, at the time of the wedding was an additional director with the CBI, making him one of the top officers of the agency.

Last week, the central probing agency named Mr Asthana in a case of corruption, accusing him of accepting three crores as a bribe from a businessman in the agency's crosshairs. The charges were forcefully denyied by Mr Asthana, who alleged that it is his boss and CBI chief Alok Verma who is guilty of bribe-taking. The offices were raided by the CBI, within its own headquarters in Delhi to collect evidence against Mr Asthana and his team, creating a one-of-a-kind, blockbuster scandal headlined as "CBI vs CBI".  

Also Read: In CBI Vs CBI, No Arrest For No. 2 Till Monday: 10 Points

For three months, Mr Asthana served briefly as the CBI's interim chief till Alok Verma was appointed as new Director in February 2017. His induction into the CBI from Gujarat was controversial and challenged by lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan who said that given that he was under scrutiny in the Sterling Biotech case, he should not be allowed into the country's premier investigating agency. Critics of Mr Asthana said that his ascension was enabled by his perceived proximity to BJP chief Amit Shah and that he was being used to handle "politically sensitive" investigations.   

Today, in its complaint against Sterling Biotech, the ED has listed 191 people including members of the Sandesaras family. 

The CBI's case against Mr Asthana was challenged by him in Delhi and a court today said that no action against him can be taken till the next hearing on Monday. The CBI no2  had also asked for the FIR or case against him to be cancelled. The court did not agree to that at this stage either.

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