Central Bureau of Investigation Special Director Rakesh Asthana on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that the First Information Report filed against him on bribery allegations was a backlash to his complaints of criminal misconduct against the agency’s chief Alok Verma, PTI reported.

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

In his rejoinder to the CBI’s response to his petition seeking to quash the FIR against him, Asthana said the agency in his case had not sought prior approval required from a competent authority to initiate investigation against a public servant. He said the statement of complainant Sathish Babu Sana was recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code on October 4 and on October 15, without obtaining the mandatory prior approval under the Prevention of Corruption Act, an FIR was registered against him.”

“This goes to show that the FIR was ante-dated,” the rejoinder stated. “This was done to firstly defy the legal and binding directions of the Central Vigilance Commission and was also due to the futile attempts of the respondents to extract a confession from Manoj Prasad [alleged middleman and accused] to falsely implicate the petitioner [Asthana].”

The CBI has 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.

Justice Najmi Waziri of the High Court extended till November 28 its order asking the CBI to maintain status quo on proceedings against the agency’s special director.