A special court in Delhi has pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation for not carrying out psychological and lie detector tests on the agency’s former special director Rakesh Asthana in a bribery case, reported PTI. The agency had cleared Asthana and Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar of the charges in the case on February 11.
“What about calls made to Asthana via WhatsApp?” the court asked the CBI. “The complainant, Sana Satish Babu, has said this in his statement recorded under [Section] 164 [of the] Code of Criminal Procedure... Evidence cannot be disregarded at filing of chargesheet.”
The court of Special CBI Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal asked the initial investigating officer, Ajay Kumar Bassi, in the case to appear on February 28 to explain the case diary. The court further asked whether any electronic equipment or mobile phones were recovered from Asthana, or if we was confronted with Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad. To this, the agency replied: “No, we examined him but never confronted him with anyone.”
Asthana was accused of receiving kickbacks and extorting money from Hyderabad-based businessman Sana Satish Babu, who was being investigated in the Moin Qureshi corruption case. Qureshi is an accused in multiple graft cases. Middleman Manoj Prasad was named as an accused in the CBI chargesheet, and the agency said that the investigation against his brother Somesh Prasad and his relative Sunil Mittal was still under way. Research and Analysis Wing chief Samant Goel, whose name had come up in connection with the Prasad brothers, has also been dropped from the case.
In October 2018, Asthana accused former CBI Director Alok Verma of trying to falsely implicate him, and levelled corruption charges against him. Soon after, the Centre sent both Asthana and Verma on compulsory leave in October 2018.
The CBI court on Wednesday asked the agency to submit call records between October 15 and October 23, 2018, of those involved in the case. It also asked the agency for information on others put under surveillance and legal interception done. The agency said Manoj Prasad and Someshwar Prasad, their father, Someshwar’s father-in-law Sunil Mittal, and lawyer Prakash Singh Negi’s phones were intercepted. “We sent voice samples for forensic examination,” the agency informed the court.
On February 12, the Delhi court had voiced its displeasure with the CBI investigation after it dropped Asthana and Kumar’s names from the chargesheet, filed on February 11.