AK Bassi, CBI investigating officer in the Rakesh Asthana bribery case who was transferred to Port Blair, spills the beans in his Supreme Court plea.
New Delhi: CBI’s Deputy Superintendent of Police A.K. Bassi, who was investigating the bribery case against the agency’s controversial special director Rakesh Asthana and who was suddenly transferred to Port Blair after CBI director Alok Verma was divested of his powers, moved the Supreme Court Tuesday.
In his petition, Bassi has claimed that his abrupt transfer was aimed at scuttling the investigation against Asthana. He has also given details of WhatsApp messages and call detail records purportedly between RAW officer Samant Goel and some middlemen.
Bassi said the CBI, which has transcripts of phone calls between Goel and the middlemen, may not place them on record.
Here are excerpts from Bassi’s petition:
On his transfer
The said Transfer Order is vitiated by malafide, and interference in the fair and impartial investigation of pending case(s) and intended to penalise and victimise an officer for his honesty and integrity. The Applicant is also aggrieved by the actions taken after his Transfer Order, whereby not only the course of the investigation of a highly sensitive case, investigated by the Applicant herein is sought to be influenced. The Applicant bears a reasonable apprehension that he and his team members and senior officers, would be implicated in the same.
On what his investigation against Asthana found
The gist of the statement is that Shri Sathish Babu Sana was harassed during the investigation of Moin Qureshi case and had paid illegal gratification in lieu of relief from the SIT probing Moin Qureshi’s case, headed by Shri Rakesh Asthana. He had specifically mentioned that the illegal gratification to the tune of crores of rupees, was taken by Manoj Prasad & Somesh Prasad, in the name of Shri Rakesh Asthana.
The statement of Shri Sathish Babu Sana aforesaid reveals shocking details of alleged corruption and illegal gratification by Shri Rakesh Asthana, the then Special Director CBI, in collusion and conspiracy with other co-accused person namely, Shri Somesh Prasad and Shri Manoj Prasad and other unknown accused persons. The said statement also reveals payment of huge amount to the tune of crores of rupees towards illegal gratification. The statement clearly implicates Shri Rakesh Asthana and Shri Devender Kumar, both officers of the CBI.
The investigation conducted by the Applicant herein revealed that the act of demand and acceptance of illegal gratification primarily pertains to two distinct periods of December 2017 and October 2018. There are two instances of acceptance of bribe in Dec 2017 totalling to Rs. 2.95 crores and three instances of acceptance of bribe in Oct 2018 totalling to around Rs. 36 Lacs.
All these five acceptances of illegal gratification were in the name of the same public servant namely – Shri Rakesh Asthana through the Prasad brothers.
On role played by RAW officer Samant Geol
Investigation further revealed role of another high-ranking bureaucrat by the name of Shri Samant Goel, who is presently Spl Secretary of R&AW (Research and Analysis Wing).
During the investigation the mobile phones of Shri Somesh Prasad was kept in surveillance. There are certain calls between Somesh and Shri Samant Goel and between Shri Somesh and his father in law Sunil Mittal some of the excerpters are as follows:-
Somesh tells Sunil Mittal: Asthana to Apna Admi Hai (Asthana is our man). Manoj has met Asthana 3 to 4 times. Samant bhai met Asthana after registration of the case. Samant bhai is very close to Asthana.
Samant Goel tells Somesh. Do not come to India at any cost.
These transcripts are available with the CBI but there is a strong chance that they may not place the same on record.
On CBI Joint director Sai Manohar
Shri Sai Manohar was a handpicked officer of Rakesh Asthana. As soon he became interim chief of CBI in December 2016, he handed over the Policy Division to the Junior Joint Director Shri Sai Manohar. Shri Asthana is the main reason why extension was given to Shri Sai Manohar inspite of objections from Director CBI. Now Sai Manohar is advising and driving the investigation of this case and trying to frame the entire investigation team for doing their job honestly and sincerely.
It is instructive to note that all the Officers who were a part of the investigation of the aforementioned FIR against Shri Rakesh Asthana and Shri Devender Kumar were summarily transferred without any valid or cogent reason.
On role of CBI DySP Devender Kumar
Investigation revealed that Shri Devender Kumar the then IO of Moin Qureshi case, had purportedly recorded Section 161 Cr. P.C. statement of Shri Sathish Babu Sana on 26.09.2018, making insinuations on one Shri C.M. Ramesh, Rajya Sabha Member and the Director CBI.
Investigation revealed that the Shri Sathish Babu Sana was in Hyderabad on 26.09.2018 and he did not visit Delhi on that day. The concerned steno was examined which revealed that Section 161 Cr. P.C. statement of Sathish Babu Sana was not typed by her. Examination of Shri Devender Kumar by the Supervising SP revealed that the statement was mostly typed in the computer of Joint Director Shri Sai Manohar / Shri Rakesh Asthana by Devender Kumar himself.