The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that the First Information Report filed in a bribery case against Special Director Rakesh Asthana and others shows cognisable offences, PTI reported. Asthana, who was sent on leave on October 23 pending an inquiry, is accused of accepting a Rs 2-crore bribe to scuttle an investigation against businessman Moin Qureshi, who is an accused in multiple corruption cases.

Under a cognisable offence, an authority can make an arrest without a warrant and start an investigation with or without the permission of a court.

The agency opposed Asthana’s plea that the FIR against him be quashed. The agency told the court that the probe against Asthana was at a nascent stage. It said several incriminating documents as well as the role of many other persons was under investigation. The CBI also added that certain files and documents were inaccessible to it as they were under Central Vigilance Commission scrutiny.

But the High Court extended till November 14 its order to the CBI to maintain status quo on proceedings against Asthana. In an earlier order on October 29, the court had asked the CBI to maintain status quo till November 1 and had given Asthana interim relief from arrest till then.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government last week sent the CBI’s top two officials – Director Alok Verma and his second-in-command Asthana – on leave over allegations of corruption and bribery.

Asthana and CBI Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar have challenged the FIR and their petitions are scheduled to come up for hearing before the bench later on Thursday. Kumar was arrested on October 22. He has been accused of forging the statement of businessman Sathish Sana, a key witness. Sana had allegedly paid bribes to get relief in the case.

The Patiala House Court in Delhi on Wednesday granted bail to Kumar and asked him to furnish a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and surety of the same amount.