Delhi HC Refuses to Quash FIR Against Asthana, Devender Kumar

The Delhi High Court on Friday, 11 January, refused to quash the FIR lodged against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, Deputy Superintendent Devender Kumar and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad.

Dismissing the petitions filed by the three challenging the FIR, the court also vacated its interim order granting Asthana protection against criminal proceedings.

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

The high court also directed the CBI to complete its investigation in the case against Asthana and others within 10 weeks, reported PTI.

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It further said the allegation of "mala fide" raised against then CBI Director Alok Verma has not been made out.

Verma and Asthana were at loggerheads for several months and had levelled charges of corruption against each other.

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

Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, on whose complaint the FIR was lodged, had alleged having paid bribe to get relief in a case.

Sana had also made allegations of corruption, extortion, high-handedness and serious malpractice against Asthana, PTI further reported.

Earlier, Justice Najmi Waziri had reserved the judgment on 20 December after concluding the arguments in which CBI Director Alok Verma maintained that all mandatory procedures of law were followed while registering an FIR against Asthana on bribery allegations.

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Meanwhile, Alok Verma, who was ousted as CBI director by a high-powered committee led by PM Modi, asked the government on Friday to treat him "deemed superannuated" with immediate effect.

Refusing to take on his new assignment as DG, Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards, Verma wrote to Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training, stating the selection committee has not provided him an opportunity to explain the details as recorded by the CVC before arriving at the decision of transferring him.

(With inputs from PTI)

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