Corruption Watchdog May Summon CBI’s Rakesh Asthana, Alok Verma

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CVC chief said no summons have been issued either to Mr Verma or Mr Asthana (File)

New Delhi:

The CVC might summon CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana to record their statements as part of an inquiry being conducted on the Supreme Court's direction, according to the graft watchdog's chief K V Chowdary.

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) initiated the probe following a complaint of corruption against Mr Verma.

The commission has got most of the files related to the cases, in whose probe, the charges of alleged interference by Mr Verma came up, Mr Chowdary told reporters Wednesday on the sidelines of an event.

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"We have got most of the files. We are in process of getting some files from the CBI. Nothing much can be said now as the matter is sub judice," he said.

When asked by PTI, whether the CVC plans to call Mr Verma and Mr Asthana to record their statements, Mr Chowdary said that "as of now we are examining the documents and if there the need arises, then all concerned would be called in".

He said no summons have been issued either to Mr Verma or Mr Asthana to appear before it in connection with the probe.

The CVC had Tuesday examined some CBI officials probing crucial cases which figured in Mr Asthana's complaint of corruption against the CBI chief Alok Verma, officials said.

They said officials from the rank of inspector up to superintendent of police of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were called and their versions were recorded before a senior official of the CVC.

The officials who recorded their statements Tuesday include those who handled the Moin Qureshi bribery case, the IRCTC scam, involving former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, the cattle smuggling case in which a senior BSF officer was caught with wands of cash in Kerala, according to the officials.

These officials were called from the CBI headquarters here and some from zonal offices, including Kochi, they said requesting anonymity.

Supreme Court had on Friday asked the CVC, that exercises superintendence over the CBI in corruption matters, to complete within two weeks its inquiry into allegations against Mr Verma levelled by Mr Asthana.

The two feuding officers, who have alleged each other of impropriety, have been sent on leave by the Centre.

The Supreme Court had directed that the CVC's inquiry into the allegations against Mr Verma, who has challenged the government's decision divesting him of his duties and sending him on leave, would be conducted under the supervision of retired apex court judge Justice A K Patnaik and this was a "one-time exception".

The feud between Mr Verma and Mr Asthana escalated recently leading to registration of an FIR against Mr Asthana and others including Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, who is in the CBI custody in an alleged bribery case.

The CBI had on October 15 registered an FIR against Asthana for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs 2 crore from Hyderabad-based businessman Sana Sathish Babu which was given through two middlemen Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad to sabotage the probe against meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

On August 24, Rakesh Asthana, in his complaint to the Cabinet Secretary, had levelled allegations against Verma that he got a bribe of Rs two crore from Sana to help him get some relief from questioning in the matter.

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