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The 9 cases CBI chief Alok Verma scuttled for bribes — Rakesh Asthana’s allegations

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From Moin Qureshi case to IRCTC scam — CBI No. 2 Rakesh Asthana, in complaint to CVC, accuses Alok Verma of scuttling probes & accepting bribes.

New Delhi: Before he was being investigated by his own agency for taking bribes, CBI special director Rakesh Asthana had made detailed allegations of corruption against his boss, director Alok Verma, to the Central Vigilance Commission last month.

The complaint accused Verma of scuttling probes in sensitive cases, appointing loyalists in vital positions despite their “adverse records”, accepting bribes and running a malicious campaign to sideline Asthana.

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The complaint was filed on 24 September, much before the crisis engulfed the premier investigating agency. Here are nine key allegations that Asthana has made:

The Moin Qureshi case

Asthana alleged that he started receiving serious inputs about “doubtful activities of senior officers” from various sources. In his complaint to the CVC, Asthana said he had information that a businessman, Sathish Sana, had paid Rs 2 crore to Verma to avoid any action. He further claimed that some other suspects, including Sukesh Gupta, were also found to be discussing bribing officials to avoid CBI action.

Asthana alleged there was strong evidence against Sana that he paid Rs 1.5 crore to corruption accused Moin Qureshi in November 2012 through one Aditya Sharma, and also invested Rs 50 lakh by purchasing shares of Great Height Infratech, a firm floated by Qureshi. Despite this, Asthana claimed Verma asked him — the head of the investigation — not to call Sana for questioning.

Asthana said Sana had been examined three times, and in one statement recorded on 13 July 2017 by the Enforcement Directorate, had stated that Rs 2 crore was extorted by Qureshi from him under the guise of help to be provided in CBI cases.

Also read: The Moin Qureshi probe that split CBI and led to the war within

“On 20 February 2018, Alok Verma called me on SIP phone (encrypted call) and instructed that Satish (sic) Sana shall not be examined. However, despite that I examined him,” Asthana said in the complaint.

“Sana, when called next, did not appear. The accused has managed to influence Alok Verma to avoid any coercive action by the CBI.”

The IRCTC scam

Asthana alleged that Verma asked him to exclude the names of suspects from the IRCTC scam FIR.

He claimed while processing the complaint against former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, CBI officers had unanimously recommended the registration of a regular case, something that Verma opposed.

“It is only after the vehement insistence of branch officials that a preliminary enquiry into the matter was initiated,” Asthana said.

Following the Preliminary Enquiry, Asthana and other officers again insisted that a regular FIR be registered, which was again allegedly shot down by Verma. After a lot of insistence, Verma is believed to have agreed to register a case, but with a condition that some names be omitted from the case.

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“The decision was taken to omit the name of one senior railway official from the list of accused. The official was the most important conspirator and his name was omitted from the file without giving any reason,” Asthana alleged.

He also claimed that the “additional director CBI” (not named) conveyed that the evidence against the above suspect had been collected and discussed on file, so his name should not be omitted. However, no change in the recommendation was entertained, and finally no searches were conducted against this accused railway official”.

Asthana alleged that while drafting the FIR, Verma removed the name of Ahluwalia Contracts as he was a close friend of the Ahluwalia family. “Also, no searches were carried out in the premises of Ahluwalia Contracts or its directors,” he said in the complaint.

Just a day before Lalu’s residence was to be searched, Verma allegedly issued instructions to call it off, also sending instructions to the joint director of the concerned zone.

Ranchi bank fraud case

A case of bank fraud was registered on 31 March 2016, on a written complaint from Allahabad Bank, alleging that some persons had availed loans on the basis of forged documents. The firm belonged to Sanjay Singh, brother of CBI joint director Rajiv Singh.

According to Asthana, Rajiv Singh, who is said to be close to Verma, interfered with the raids to guard his brother — he is believed to have made repeated calls to the supervisory joint director of Patna zone, A.K. Singh, also supposedly a close confidant of Verma.

Asthana alleged that the searches led to the recovery of documents which showed that Rajiv Singh himself was the guarantor of the bank loan that was fraudulently taken, and that despite this evidence on record, no action was taken against Sanjay Singh.

“To protect Rajiv Singh and his brother, the file was kept pending for more than 10 months by JD, Patna, Bhanu Bhaskar,” Asthana alleged.

Later, allegedly without informing Asthana, who supervised the work of Patna zone, Verma transferred the case to the Economic Offences Wing in Ranchi, while Rajiv Singh was also given additional charge of the Bank Securities and Fraud Cell Zone of the CBI, giving him the position to monitor the developments and influence the investigation of the case.

Coal block

As part of the investigation into coal block allocations, a criminal case was registered in July 2017 against Monnet Ispat, in which one Jajodia is an accused.

Asthana claimed that despite knowing that Jajodia is an accused and despite requests, Verma took no action towards either revoking his passport, or opening a look-out circular, or publishing an Interpol notice in his name.

Haryana land acquisition

A Preliminary Enquiry was registered by the CBI’s Anti Corruption-I unit in the matter of land acquisition in Nangli, Umarpur, Tigra, Ulhawas and other villages in Haryana for the purpose of building residential sectors in Gurgaon.

Asthana alleged that he received information that about Rs 36 crore was changing hands to ensure that the probe was closed and no criminal investigation was launched.

“It was found that then-director of town planning and a real estate company owner were liasoning (sic) with joint director A.K. Sharma and Alok Verma,” Asthana said in his complaint.

Appointment of R.P. Upadhyay as joint director

Asthana claimed that a letter was sent to him for the induction of Rajender Pal Upadhyay as joint director, but verification by the Special Unit — the internal vigilance unit of the CBI — allegedly revealed adverse conduct by Upadhyay. Yet, Verma is believed to have  insisted that he be inducted.

Also read: All you wanted to know about the war in CBI between Rakesh Asthana and Alok Verma

Asthana claimed that Upadhyay was earlier rejected from being on deputation at the superintendent level as he was not cleared by the Special Unit.

“Alok Verma called JD policy and asked him to clear Upadhyay’s name, which was politely declined. Verma then overruled inputs of internal vigilance unit and forwarded Upadhyay’s name to DoPT for induction,” Asthana alleged.

Upadhyay, Asthana alleged, was accused of getting a share of “illegal gratification” in the name of Economic Offences Wing (Chandigarh) DSP R.C. Meena.

Induction of Rajeev Krishna

Another appointment that Verma allegedly forced through was that of Rajeev Krishna as joint director.

Asthana stated that Rajeev Krishna is the brother-in-law of ED joint director Rajeshwar Singh, and that Verma wanted Krishna as joint director.

“Soon after Verma took over, K.K. Sharma who was DG BSF forwarded the name of Rajeev Krishna, IPS 1991 for induction as JD CBI. Krishna’s wife Meenakshi is an IRS officer and is sister of Rajeshwar Singh, JD ED. The name was shot down due to issues of integrity but Verma pushed for it. He overruled inputs of vigilance unit even before induction. Krishna was, however, repatriated to UP,” Asthana alleged.

Undue interference in CBI cases against ED officials

Lucknow case: A criminal case was registered against one N.B. Singh, assistant director, ED, on 23 June 2017, alleging that he was demanding and accepting bribes for extending official favours in the form of non-attachment of movable and immovable properties in money laundering cases.

Asthana alleged that N.B. Singh was close to ED joint director Rajeshwar Singh, because despite being allegedly caught red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs 5 lakh, Rajeshwar Singh had allowed N.B. Singh to continue to discharge all official functions.

Asthana alleged that the head of the anti-corruption branch was heavily reprimanded by Verma for investigating the case, and in December 2017, he was relieved from the CBI.

“The officials did not seize N.B. Singh’s phones using which he was in touch with his controlling officers. His laptop was not confiscated,” Asthana stated.

Chandigarh case: A case of disproportionate assets was registered against one Gurnam Singh, then deputy director, ED, on allegations that between March 2012 and January 2017 he acquired properties worth Rs 1.71 crore, whereas his income was not more than Rs 47 lakh. He also alleged that when a case regarding this was registered in CBI, “the director was furious”.

“Verma shouted at the JD and me. He conveyed that since ED was looking into it, we need not do anything. He was then informed that the FIR pertains to acquisition of disproportionate assets and ED has no role in that but Director CBI wanted to inform Director ED in advance about registration of case. He asked us not to conduct any searches,” Asthana alleged.

Asthana also alleged that Gurnam Singh deleted all the data from his phone before the searches even began, because he was tipped off.

“During verification telephone surveillance revealed that Gurnam was demanding Rs 50 lakh from one Thomas for influencing Director CBI and to make CBI appear before the Apex Court to say that they will not be able to take this case up,” Asthana alleged.

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  1. If these allegations are true then CBI Director was misusing the powers given by supreme court .The supreme court must look into this matter and the enquiry by SIT should be started at once so that the truth will come out .In CBI the things are fishy and should be enquired to maintain its dignity .

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