Rakesh Asthana gets interim protection from arrest till Oct 29

Rakesh Asthana

New Delhi, Oct 23: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to maintain status quo in the ongoing probe involving its Special Director Rakesh Asthana and granted him interim protection from arrest till October 29.

The ‘status quo’ is generally referred to the existing state of affairs or circumstances, and now, both sides involved in the tussle are prevented from taking any action until the next hearing.

A bench of Justice Najmi Waziri directed the CBI to file response to agency’s Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Devender Kumar’s plea seeking quashing of First Information Report (FIR). The court fixed October 29 for further hearing.

The court said that all electronic records of the accused to be preserved including mobile phones, laptops etc

Asthana and Kumar have requested the court to call documents related to the case.

The DSP told the High Court that in spite of an excellent record in investigating cases, he has been made a scapegoat in the matter. Kumar stated he has been implicated in a false, frivolous and afterthought case.

Kumar dubbed the FIR against him as a shocking state of affairs and described the complaint against him illegal and malafide.

He was arrested on Monday for fabricating documents in the bribery allegations case against Asthana. Meat exporter Moin Qureshi, who is facing multiple cases of money laundering and corruption, had paid a bribe to get a case against him settled, the agency said.

According to the CBI, Kumar fabricated the statement of Sathish Sana, a witness in the Qureshi case, showing he recorded the statement on September 26 in Delhi. However, an investigation revealed that Sana was not in Delhi on that day. He was in Hyderabad and joined the investigation only on October 1.

Kumar’s arrest comes a day after the CBI registered an FIR against Asthana, Kumar and two others. The CBI has alleged that bribes were taken at least five times in December 2017 and October 2018.

Asthana, a 1984 batch Indian Police Service officer of the Gujarat cadre, is accused of accepting a bribe of Rs 2 crore from a businessman who was being investigated in the Qureshi case in order to “wreck” the probe.

The Qureshi case was being examined by a special investigation team (SIT) headed by Rakesh Asthana.

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