CBI No. 2 Rakesh Asthana Faces Arrest, To Be Probed For Bribe, Says Court

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CBI row: The Delhi High Court has removed interim protection from arrest given to Rakesh Asthana.

New Delhi:

Rakesh Asthana, the CBI Number 2, will be investigated in the bribery case, the Delhi High Court said today. The judge refused to cancel the case filed against Special Director Rakesh Asthana, CBI Deputy Superintendent Devender Kumar and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad, and also removed the interim protection given to Mr Asthana against criminal proceedings.

The CBI has been told to complete investigation in the case against Mr Asthana and others within 10 weeks.

The court was hearing petitions filed by the three challenging the First Information Report or FIR in which Mr Asthana was charged with criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct.

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Justice Najmi Waziri said that permission for prior sanction to prosecute Mr Asthana and Mr Kumar was not needed considering the facts of the case.

Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, on whose complaint the FIR was filed, alleged he paid bribe to get relief in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

The development comes a day after Mr Asthana's boss and CBI chief Alok Verma was removed by a high-level committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after his conditional reinstatement by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Mr Verma was accused of corruption by Rakesh Asthana in October, when the two officers traded charges in an unprecedented public rift within the country's premier investigating agency.

As the government sent both on immediate leave and appointed an interim chief in a midnight swoop, Mr Verma approached the Supreme Court.

The panel had transferred him as Director General Fire Services, after deciding that as CBI chief, he had "not acted with the integrity expected of him". Mr Verma resigned today.

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