Delhi High Court’s status quo order on proceedings against Rakesh Asthana extended till Nov 28

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New Delhi | Published: November 14, 2018 6:45:56 PM

The Delhi High Court Wednesday extended till November 28 its order asking the CBI to maintain status quo on proceedings against Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who has sought quashing of an FIR against him in a bribery case.

The high court questioned Asthana’s counsel for not serving the petition to Verma and enjoying the interim order in his favour.

The Delhi High Court Wednesday extended till November 28 its order asking the CBI to maintain status quo on proceedings against Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who has sought quashing of an FIR against him in a bribery case. The court did not go in for the full hearing in the matter as it was informed that CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma has not been served with its notice on the pleas by Asthana and DSP Devender Kumar, who is also seeking the quashing of the FIR.

Justice Najmi Waziri was also told by the counsel of CBI Joint Director A K Sharma that he was served with the court notice and petition copy Wednesday itself while the court had issued notice to him and Verma on October 23.

When the court asked the counsel for Asthana and Kumar about non-service of notice and checked the records, it surfaced that due to non-payment of process fees, notice was not issued to Verma and the court directed the advocates to serve it within three days.

The high court questioned Asthana’s counsel for not serving the petition to Verma and enjoying the interim order in his favour.

“How come respondent 2 (Verma) is not served. You have an interim order in you favour. I will vacate it. The process fee has not been filed, the interim order will go. How can you enjoy the interim order. Notice has to go to everybody,” the judge said.

Senior advocate Amrendra Sharan, appearing for Asthana, said that they will serve the notice and petition to Verma by tomorrow.

Asthana has also filed a rejoinder to CBI’s response to his petition.

The court was hearing separate pleas of Asthana, Kumar and middleman Manoj Prasad seeking quashing of the FIR against them.

Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee and advocate Rajdipa Behura, appearing for the CBI, requested the court to take up the matter next week after which it was fixed for November 28.

During the hearing, the counsel for Sharma, said he has incriminating evidence against Asthana and he will place it before the court in a sealed cover.

The court asked him to file it before the CBI which will place the documents before the it.

To this, the counsel said, “today, the problem is that we do not know who is the real agency” and sought time to file response to the pleas of Asthana and Kumar.

The high court on October 23 had ordered the CBI to maintain status quo on proceedings against Asthana which was further extended on October 29 till November 1.

On November 1, the interim order was extended till Wednesday. The October 23 order had made it clear that the agency would not take any coercive step against Asthana.

On November 1, both CBI and Asthana had opposed the plea of Additional Superintendent of Police S S Gurm, who has been transferred from Delhi to Jabalpur in the wake of a feud between Verma and Asthana, to be heard in the matter.

The CBI in its reply to the pleas of Asthana and Kumar had said allegations against them and others show cognisable offences.

The CBI had filed the replies in response to the notice issued to it on the petitions filed by Asthana and Kumar, who was granted bail by the trial court, against the filing of the case.

The agency had said it was “handicapped” in its probe against them as the case files and documents have been sent to the CVC for scrutiny following the Supreme Court’s order directing the vigilance body to inquire against Verma.

Kumar, earlier the investigating officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, was arrested on the allegations of forgery in recording the statement of businessman Sathish Babu Sana who had alleged to have paid bribe to get relief in the case.

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