A court in Delhi on Tuesday granted bail to Manoj Prasad, the alleged middleman arrested in connection with bribery allegations against Central Bureau of Investigation
Special Director Rakesh Asthana, PTI reported.

After defence counsel Vikas Pahwa pointed out that the investigating agency failed to file a chargesheet against the Dubai-based businessman in the stipulated time of 60 days, Special CBI judge Santosh Snehi Mann said keeping him in custody would not serve any purpose, The Indian Express reported.

In October, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government sent Asthana and CBI Director Alok Verma on leave after they accused each other of corruption.

Asthana is accused of receiving kickbacks and extorting money from Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, who was being investigated in the Moin Qureshi corruption case. Qureshi is an accused in multiple graft cases.

Sana told the CBI he paid Rs 3 crore to Asthana, Prasad and Prasad’s relative Somesh Srivastava over 10 months from December 2017 so that the special investigation team headed by Asthana would not keep him away from the inquiry. However, he was allegedly harassed to pay more. He reportedly paid Rs 25 lakh on October 9 to get relief from appearing before the investigation team. A week later, a CBI team arrested Prasad when he arrived in Delhi to collect Rs 1.75 crore.

According to the first information report filed by the CBI in the case, the agency’s Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, the investigating officer in the case against Qureshi, had asked Sana to pay Rs 5 crore bribe. Kumar was arrested by the agency on October 22 but a local court in Delhi granted him bail more than a week later.