Apart from one in August, the CBI no.2 wrote 4 other letters in October, in which he felt agency was also acting against him at Verma’s behest.
New Delhi: The CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana wrote not one but five letters to the Union cabinet secretary and the central vigilance commissioner (CVC), accusing CBI director Alok Verma of “criminal misconduct” and expressing apprehensions of the agency acting against him at Verma’s behest, ThePrint has learnt.
All of the five letters were also marked to National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajith Doval.
While the first letter was sent on 24 August, accusing CBI chief Alok Verma of scuttling probes, taking bribes and appointing his loyalists to top positions, the four other letters were written in October (15, 18, 19 and 20), sources said.
Sources said that Asthana wrote the second of his letters on 15 October after being tipped off about Verma’s team preparing a case against him and his loyalists. In it, he listed his apprehension of the CBI action against him.
The CBI registered an FIR against Asthana on 15 October, accusing him of taking a bribe of Rs 3 crore from a Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, who is an accused in the Moin Qureshi case that the SIT headed by Asthana was probing.
Sources said Asthana found out about the FIR only on 18 October, following which he wrote another letter to the cabinet secretary and the CVC on the same day.
The last of his letters, on 20 October, a copy of which is with ThePrint, accuses the CBI director Alok Verma of falsely implicating innocent officers and requests an “expeditious investigation” to ascertain the truth in the FIR against him. He also urged the CVC to constitute and SIT to look into the matter.
Incidentally, in the same period, DSP Devender Kumar, named along with Asthana in the case of forgery, extortion and allegedly accepting bribes, and joint director A. Sai Manohar, an Asthana loyalist, wrote similar letters to the CVC accusing Verma of implicating honest officers.
While Kumar’s letter was written on 20 October, Sai Manohar’s letter is dated 22 October.
Asthana denies charges in FIR
In his letter to the CVC and cabinet secretary dated 20 October, Asthana denied the allegations against him in the FIR and claimed that the house and office premises of DSP Devender Kumar were searched on the basis of “false, fabricated and spoofed communications”, as the complainant, businessman Sathish Babu Sana, was an accused in the Moin Qureshi case being investigated by a SIT under Asthana’s supervision.
Asthana further writes that he had in his 24 August letter pointed that it was Verma who had allegedly accepted Rs 2 crore from Satish Babu Sana,
“… (the) complaint is pending enquiry with your goodself. Under such circumstances, there is no reason for Shri Devender Kumar, Dy SP, SIT or undersigned to indulge in alleged activities,” the letter reads. “To the best of my knowledge and belief, nobody in the SIT including me, entered into any communication with Satish Babu Sana other than for genuine official investigation purposes.”
‘Sana’s arrest was rejected by Verma’
Asthana further claimed that CBI director Verma rejected a proposal for the arrest and custodial interrogation of Sana in the Moin Qureshi case.
The proposal, according to the 20 October letter, was forwarded to the CBI director on 20 September 2018, and again on 3 October 2018, but was allegedly rejected.
“The above proposal has been brushed under the carpet by DCBI (Alok Verma) and never sent back to SIT for effecting the arrest. This has been done by DCBI to save his skin, as any custodial interrogation of Sathish Babu Sana would reveal the involvement of DCBI in favouring the said accused person for pecuniary gains,” the letter reads.
“The DCBI (Verma) in collusion with said the bribe giver, Satish Babu Sana and some officials of CBI, has falsely implicated me and member(s) of SIT,” he said.
Asthana stated that there was no misconduct on part of the SIT members or himself to favour Sana and that he was “shocked” to note that instead of arresting Sana, the CBI was hounding “honest and upright officers”.
The letter also called on the CVC to direct CBI officers and its chief from taking any action on Sana’s complaint and sought a SIT probe in the matter.
“I request your goodself to ensure (an) expeditious investigation into the spoofed communications to ascertain the truth rather than treating the version of the complainant as gospel truth while acting in undue haste,” the letter reads.