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Rakesh Asthana bribery case: Delhi HC raps CBI, says it's 'unfortunate' you don't trust your counsel

File photo of Rakesh Asthana. Photograph:( DNA )

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 28, 2019, 07.06 PM (IST)

The Delhi High Court Thursday termed it as "unfortunate" that CBI's own lawyers have not been shown its status report on the probe in a bribery case involving the agency's then special director Rakesh Asthana and others.

Justice Mukta Gupta said if the agency has "no confidence" in its own lawyers, "what does it show?"

"It is unfortunate that even the (CBI) counsel are not privy to it (status report). If you have no confidence in your counsel, what does it show? If your own counsel is not supposed to read it, why should I," the judge said.

In response, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Vikramjit Banerjee, appearing for CBI, told the court that the report was not shown to anyone due to the sensitivity of the matter.

However, the court was not in agreement with the argument.

CBI has moved the application seeking more time to complete probe in the main petition moved by DSP Devender Kumar seeking quashing of the CBI's FIR lodged against him, Asthana and middleman Manoj Prasad in the bribery case.

The agency told the court that similar applications were also filed in two other petitions moved by Asthana and Prasad seeking quashing of the FIR and they were pending clearance in the high court registry.

All three petitions were disposed of by the high court on January 11 by a common order in which CBI was directed to complete investigation in the case within ten weeks.

On Thursday, the court said that since all the applications have to be taken up together, it will hear the matter on April 4.

During the hearing, Kumar's lawyers told the court that the application was not maintainable according to section 362 of the Criminal Procedure Code which states that a court may not alter or review its final order in a matter except to correct a clerical or arithmetical error.

The judge did not agree with the contention, saying the instant matters were writ petitions and not a criminal complaint and therefore, section 362 may not be applicable.

The court gave them time till the next date to file their reply to the application.

CBI has filed the application for more time as the 10 weeks granted to it by the high court on January 11 for completing the probe had expired.

Asthana was booked on the allegations of criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct under the relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Kumar, earlier the investigating officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, was arrested on the allegations of forgery in recording the statement of Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, who had alleged having paid bribe to get relief in the case. He was arrested on October 22 and granted bail on October 31.

Story highlights

All three petitions were disposed of by the high court on January 11 by a common order in which CBI was directed to complete investigation in the case within ten weeks.