Delhi HC seeks CBI response on quashing FIR registered against Rakesh Asthana
Delhi HC issued notice on a plea by Sana seeking to be heard in a matter relating to the quashing of an FIR against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana of bribery in Moin Qureshi case
The Delhi High Court today issued notice on a plea by Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Babu Sana seeking to be heard in a matter relating to the quashing of an FIR registered against Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Director Rakesh Asthana on bribery allegations. Babu had alleged that Asthana and others accepted gratification in the Moin Qureshi case.
The matter was listed for hearing before Justice Najmi Waziri.
Senior Advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Babu, began his submissions by stating that he was “the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle”. He said the FIR was filed on the basis of his complaint. He was helping the agency in the investigation and should also be heard.
“I appeared before the CVC. I also gave a statement under section 164 (of CrPC). I am willing to go again”, he said.
Khurshid argued that with the change in the team investigating the case, Babu apprehended that he would be “pressurized to take back the complaint”.
Apart from being impleaded as a party, Babu also sought protection from any coercive steps by the CBI.
“I need the same protection as the accused (Asthana)…In totality of circumstances, these are very unusual facts”, Khurshid submitted.
Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee and advocate Rajdipa Behura, representing the CBI, resisted the plea by saying that there was no need to implead Sana.
Since Babu’s complaint was already on record and the agency was defending it in the proceedings, there is no need to implead him, Banerjee argued.
“Why should he be added? There is no need for it…It is not necessary to create more ripples. He is not bringing anything more on record.”
To this, Justice Waziri replied, “This objection should come from the Petitioner (Asthana). Take time, look into the matter.”
While issuing notice to the parties, the Court directed both the parties to file their replies before the next date of hearing. The Court also directed Babu to appear before the agency on December 17 at 10 am
CBI also informed the Court that Babu was “choosing not to appear before” it in the investigation. It also submitted that as far as the present FIR was concerned, the agency was “not contemplating” any coercive measure against Babu so far.
“I don’t think there is any impending threat to him”, Banerjee said.
The statement was accepted and recorded by the Court. With respect to any other FIR, however, the Court clarified that Babu must approach the appropriate court.
While issuing notice to the parties, the Court directed them to file their replies before the next date of hearing. The Court also directed Babu to appear before the agency on December 17 at 10 am.
Babu had earlier approached the Supreme Court seeking police protection, fearing a threat to his life and liberty. In his application, Sana had also asked for his interrogation to be carried out under the supervision of retired judge of the Supreme Court AK Patnaik J, who will also be monitoring the inquiry against Alok Verma. While the Apex Court granted the first request, it declined the latter.
It was Babu’s statement that formed the basis for the FIR filed against the agency’s Special Director Rakesh Asthana. He had alleged that Asthana received a bribe of Rs 2 crore in exchange for a clean chit to him in an investigation in the case relating to meat trader Moin Qureshi
The matter will be next heard on December 14.