With Case Against Its Number 2 Officer, Clash Within CBI Intensifies

With Case Against Its Number 2 Officer, Clash Within CBI Intensifies

With Case Against Its Number 2 Officer, Clash Within CBI Intensifies 

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation have claimed that they have immediately analysed nine phone calls after the middleman Manoj Prasad was held in the alleged bribery case against Rakesh Asthana, its Special Director, to allege that there was panic after the middleman's brother got "wind" of the arrest, officials said Sunday.

A case against Mr Asthana has been registered by the agency, on the basis of claims made by a businessman, Sathish Sana, probed by him in a separate case, that he was asked to pay a bribe of Rs. 5 crore by Manoj Prasad, an investment banker based in Dubai to get relief from repeated summons and a clean chit in the case, they said.

In the agency, Mr Asthana is the second-in-command and had intimated the cabinet secretary nearly two months ago that Sana had allegedly paid a bribe of Rs. 2 crore to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Chief Alok Verma to get relief in the case.

However, on Sunday the CBI had claimed that Mr Sana had appeared before the magistrate and stated that he made payments between December, 2017 and October, 2018 to a middleman, who had cited his purported connection with Mr Asthana to ensure relief for him.

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On the basis of his claims, the agency arrested Manoj Prasad on October 16 when he was returning from Dubai to allegedly collect an installment of the agreed bribe amount.

Nowhere in the statement, which is now part of the FIR, made public nearly five days after registration, Sana had mentioned any direct meeting, interaction or payment of bribe to Mr Asthana.

According to the call data analysis done by the CBI, the phone calls were allegedly exchanged between Asthana and a senior officer of another intelligence agency, who wanted to confirm the details of the middleman's arrest.

An officer claimed that, the calls were also exchanged between the senior officer and the wife of the middleman Somesh Prasad, brother of middleman Manoj Prasad, among others.

According to the sources, the call data records show that four calls were exchanged between Asthana and the senior officer on October 17, 2018, a day after the arrest.

They said that Somesh Prasad, "somehow" got news of the latter's arrest on October 16, 2018 and immediately called his contact, the senior officer of the intelligence agency on the same day.

They claimed, a call was then made by the officer to Somesh within a minute.

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