National Security Adviser Ajit Doval interfered in Asthana probe, CBI official tells top court

Ajit Doval Photograph:( PTI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 19, 2018, 04.46 PM (IST) Jessica Taneja

A CBI officer, who was probing the FIR lodged against Special Director Rakesh Asthana, on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of his transfer to Nagpur in Maharashtra.

Taking cue from Alok Verma, CBI joint director Manish Kumar Sinha told the court that the decision “is arbitrary, motivated and malafide, and was made solely with the purpose and intent to victimise the officer as the investigation revealed cogent evidence against certain powerful persons”.

Sinha was conducting an investigation against Asthana for alleged corruption. He mentioned his plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for urgent hearing, but his request was denied. Sinha said that he wanted to bring some shocking facts to light, but the CJI was quick to retort "nothing shocks us".

In his petition, Sinha has alleged that National Security Adviser Ajit Doval tried to hinder and interfere in the investigations against Asthana.

The petition also highlights the alleged bribes taken by Union Minister of State for Coal and Mines Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhari to help settle matters related to CBI. “Sometime in first fortnight of June 2018, a few crores of rupees was paid to Shri Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, presently Minister of State for Coal and Mines in Government of India. As per Shri Sana, Shri Haribhai had intervened with the Senior officers of CBI through the office of the Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension [“MOS (P)”], to whom, apparently, the Director - CBI reports to. The money was paid through one Vipul of Ahmedabad. These facts were disclosed by Sana to me on 20.10.2018 in the forenoon. I immediately reported the matter to the Director and the AD (AK Sharma)", the petition says.

Sinha's plea goes on to state that while the entire team probing Asthana was removed, surveillance had found a tape where RAW officer Samant Goel was heard saying, "The PMO has taken care of the CBI issue."

Asthana has also been divested of his duties and sent on leave by the central government following his ongoing feud with the CBI Director.

The CBI had booked Asthana on allegations of receiving a bribe from an accused probed by him in a case linked to meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

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It also highlights the alleged bribes taken by Union Minister of State for Coal and Mines Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhari to help settle matters related to CBI.