CBI special director Rakesh Asthana. Photo: HT
CBI special director Rakesh Asthana. Photo: HT

Delhi HC refuses to quash FIR against Rakesh Asthana

Delhi HC's dismissal of Rakesh Asthana's plea comes against the backdrop of the tussle between him and now ousted CBI director Alok Verma, which became public late last year

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Friday dismissed petitions by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special director Rakesh Asthana and others seeking quashing of an FIR against them on corruption and bribery charges.

The ruling comes a day after Alok Verma, who was reinstated as CBI chief on 8 January, was transferred to the position of director general of fire services, civil defence and home guards—an appointment he has turned down.

The high court verdict dismissing Asthana’s plea comes against the backdrop of the tussle between him and Verma, which became public late last year and the unprecedented churn within the CBI that followed.

The court, ruling on the petitions by Asthana, deputy superintendent Devender Kumar and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad, also directed the CBI to complete its investigation in the case against Asthana and others within 10 weeks.

But it dismissed an allegation by Kumar, who is out on bail after being arrested on charges of bribery, that Verma was acting out of “mala fide" intent in reversing the transfer orders served on CBI officials probing Asthana. It also vacated its interim order granting protection to Asthana against criminal proceedings.

Justice Najmi Waziri had on 20 December reserved the judgement on quashing of FIR after hearing submissions of counsel for CBI, the centre, Verma, Asthana, joint director A.K. Sharma and Kumar.

CBI had on 15 October registered a case of criminal conspiracy and corruption against Asthana. Asthana has spearheaded probes in AgustaWestland, Bihar fodder case, coal allocation case and the probe against businessman Vijay Mallya.

Meanwhile, interim chief M. Nageshwar Rao on Friday reversed all the transfer orders Verma issued on Wednesday and Thursday.

PTI contributed to this story.

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