Ajit Doval interfered in probe on Rakesh Asthana, Minister was bribed: CBI DIG MK Sinha

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval (File Photo)

Central Bureau of Investigation DIG (Deputy Inspector General) Manish Kumar Sinha in a petition to the Supreme Court accused National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to interfere in the investigation against CBI number two director R K Asthana.

Supreme Court will hear his petition on Tuesday.

Sinha stated in his petition that Doval had stopped him from searching Asthana’s house.

Sinha was among those CBI officers who were investigating against CBI special director Asthana and later in October were transferred along with other officers.

Sinha claimed that in this case there were two mediators involved who were close to Doval.

Sinha has alleged that the complainant in Asthana bribery case Satish Sana Babu had told him that State Minister for Coal and Mining Haribhai Parthibhai Choudhary was bribed several crores in the related cases.

Manish Sinha investigated allegations that Rakesh Asthana, the CBI number two, had taken bribe to help a Hyderabad-based businessman, Satish Sana, linked to an investigation. Sana is a co-accused in multiple cases being investigated against meat exporter Moin Qureshi, who is accused of money laundering. Rakesh Asthana had alleged that Sana had bribed CBI Director Alok Verma.

The DIG, who was also in charge of the bank scam investigations against celebrity jeweler Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, alleges that his transfer in the early hours of October 24 was “arbitrary, motivated and malafide, and was made solely with the purpose and intent to victimise the officer as the investigation revealed cogent evidence against certain powerful persons.”

He says there is “reasonable apprehension… of tampering with evidence, exonerate the existing accused persons against whom there already exists overwhelming evidence and on the contrary, implicate/punish, as a first step of which the applicant was transferred to Nagpur twelve hundred kilometres away in completely arbitrary manner in the name of so called public interest, all those who were involved in the investigation and were merely discharging their duties, impartially, without fear or favour.”

Sinha’s petition also alleges intervention in this case by many in the government.

Among them is Law Secretary Suresh Chandra, who, says Sinha “waded into the issue”. Rekha Rani, an IAS officer, allegedly contacted Satish Sana on behalf of the Law Secretary. Satish Sana spoke to him on Whatsapp, says the petition.

“The Union Law Secretary Suresh Chandra said that he was in London for some work related to Nirav Modi case, that he was trying to contact him (Sana) for last 4/5 days in order to convey message of Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha that the Union Government will offer full protection to him, that there will be a drastic change on Tuesday (13th) and that he (Sana) should meet him (Suresh Chandra) on Wednesday(14th),” the CBI DIG claims.

Sinha also alleges that Chief Vigilance Commissioner KV Chowdary “called Rakesh Asthana and made inquiries” and the officer told him there was not much evidence against him.

Sinha told the top court that his petition should be heard tomorrow along with that of CBI director Alok Verma, who was sent on forced leave days after he launched an investigation into the same charges against Asthana.

Asthana also accused his boss Alok Verma of taking bribe from the same businessman and wrote to the vigilance chief. As the feud played out publicly, the CBI’s top two were both sent on leave in a post-midnight order on October 23 and several officers in Verma’s team, who were investigating Asthana, were transferred.

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