CBI vs CBI: In sharp escalation, CBI searches own office, arrests Asthana team member

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New Delhi | October 23, 2018 1:53 AM

Dy SP probing Moin Qureshi case held for ‘falsification of records’

CBI,  Rakesh Asthana team member, Alok Verma, SIT, Moin Qureshi case CBI sources said the agency also searched the office of Devender Kumar and seized several documents. (PTI)

The ongoing war between CBI director Alok Verma and Special director Rakesh Asthana escalated Monday when the agency searched its own premises in New Delhi and arrested a member of its Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Asthana. Dy SP Devender Kumar, investigating officer in the Moin Qureshi case, was arrested for alleged “falsification of records” in connection with an FIR it registered against Asthana on October 15.

CBI sources said the agency also searched the office of Devender Kumar and seized several documents. The “falsification of records” charge against Kumar has been made by the CBI in context of a statement Kumar took from Hyderabad businessman and Moin Qureshi case suspect Sana Satish Babu on September 26.

It was on Sana Satish Babu’s statement, subsequently recorded before a magistrate on October 4, that a CBI team under Additional Director A K Sharma registered a case of alleged bribery against Asthana and three others including Devender Kumar. In this statement, Babu told the CBI that the case against him had been settled through negotiations carried out by TDP MP C M Ramesh on his behalf with CBI Director Alok Verma. The CBI has called this statement fabricated.

“The matter relates to creation of a statement U/s 161 of Shri Satish Sana, a witness in the Moin Qureshi case, showing it to be recorded on 26.09.2018 at Delhi. During investigation, it has been found that Shri Sana was not present in Delhi on that day and was in Hyderabad. Shri Sana actually joined investigation at Delhi on 1.10.2018,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said in a written statement.

The statement, signed by Devender Kumar, is in question-answer format. In response to a question why on being summoned by CBI for questioning he had insisted that the investigation against him had been concluded, Babu said, “During June, 2018, I had discussed my case with one of my old friends Sh C M Ramesh, a Rajya Sabha member, who assured that he will talk to the concerned Director. Subsequently, when I met with Sh CM Ramesh, he told that he had personally met Director CBI regarding my case and examination by CBI. Sh Ramesh also informed that I will not be called again in this case. Since, from June onwards, I was not called by CBI, I was under the impression that the investigation against me is completed.”

According to CBI, this statement was fabricated by Devender Kumar as an afterthought to support allegations made by Asthana against Alok Verma that the latter had accepted Rs 2 crore from Babu to settle the case against him. Asthana had made these allegations in a communication sent to the Cabinet Secretary on August 24 as part of 12 cases where he said the Director was either stalling or interfering in the probes carried by him. These included the charge that Alok Verma had tried to stall a raid on Lalu Yadav in the IRCTC case.

“It was found that Shri Devender Kumar had fabricated this statement as an afterthought plan to corroborate the baseless allegations made by special director, Shri Rakesh Asthana against director, CBI Shri Alok Kumar Verma, to CVC. Looking into the seriousness of the matter, role of other officers of SIT, CBI, then supervising the Moin Qureshi case are also being probed,” the CBI statement said.

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