The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said no coercive action can be taken against Central Bureau of Investigation Special Director Rakesh Asthana till October 29, when it will resume hearing the officer’s plea to quash the agency’s First Information Report against him in a bribery case, ANI reported. Asthana had moved court earlier in the day.
The court instructed law enforcement agencies to preserve all electronic records of the accused, including mobile phones and laptops.
Asthana’s lawyer told the court that the matter was of great urgency. “The person whose arrest was recommended by Asthana has now been made a complainant and based on his complaint, this FIR has been filed,” he said. “Any investigation without proper permission will be illegal.”
However, the counsel for the Central Bureau of Investigation said the charges against the senior CBI official are serious. “Charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act along with criminal conspiracy, charges of extortion and forgery will be added,” ANI quoted the agency’s lawyer as saying.
The investigation against Asthana – believed to have been handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – comes amid the allegations of bribery and interference with investigations that he has levelled against CBI Director Alok Verma.
Asthana is accused of accepting a Rs 2-crore bribe to scuttle an investigation into businessman Moin Qureshi, who is an accused in multiple corruption cases. The CBI on Monday arrested its Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar in connection with the case.