‘Highly Incriminating’ Evidence Found Against Rakesh Asthana, Alok Verma Tells Delhi High Court

In an affidavit filed in the Delhi High Court, Alok Verma said a thorough probe was necessary against Asthana to restore public confidence in the investigative agency.

New Delhi: CBI Director Alok Verma, who was divested of his duties and sent on a forced leave, dismissed all the allegations levelled against him by special CBI director Rakesh Asthana on Friday and called them nothing but the “imagination of the petitioner.”

In an affidavit filed in the Delhi High Court, Verma also said there was “highly incriminating materials” found against Asthana and a thorough probe was necessary against him to restore public confidence in the investigative agency.

The affidavit was in response to Asthana’s challenge to the FIR filed against him by the CBI and the decision to strip him all of his responsibilities in the HC. The affidavit further claimed that there was “cogent evidence of bribery against Asthana” and the government’s approval was not required before lodging the FIR against him.

The hearing in the Delhi High Court is separate from the proceedings in the Supreme Court, which had reserved its judgment on Verma's plea challenging the Centre's decision to exile him.

Replying to the allegations levelled against him by Asthana, Verma stated that, “allegations are nothing but imagination of the petitioner” and that the “petition by Asthana is not maintainable and is misconceived”. Verma also stated that the “investigation are at nascent stage”.

However, Verma insisted that the FIR against Asthana should not be dismissed and that the “allegations made in complaint against Asthana & others are very serious & requires thorough probe.”

In the previous hearing, CBI Director Alok Verma and Joint Director A K Sharma were allowed by the Delhi High Court to inspect in the CVC’s office the case file relating to FIR against Asthana.

Verma was asked by Justice Najmi Waziri to go to Central Vigilance Commission’s office after his counsel said there are allegations of mala fide against him in Asthana’s petition. He also allowed CBI joint director AK Sharma to go to the CVC’s office on Friday to inspect the files.

Regarding proceedings against Asthana, who has sought quashing of an FIR against him in a bribery case, the court extended till December 7 its order directing the CBI to maintain status quo.

Alok Verma has submitted that the FIR against Asthana was registered only after a detailed probe.

He states that Sec 17A of Prevention of Corruption Act does not apply to Rakesh Asthana’s case and that preliminary enquiry was done before registration of FIR against Asthana. “FIR should not be quashed and Asthana’s petition should be dismissed,” states Alok Verma in the reply.

Sharma, while submitting "incriminating evidence" against CBI special director Rakesh Asthana, had earlier informed the Delhi High Court that Asthana is the "main beneficiary of extortion and kingpin of the entire offences”.

In the previous hearing, the counsel for Sharma said he had incriminating evidence against Asthana and would place it before the court in a sealed cover, to which the court had asked him to file it before the CBI. The probe agency will then place the documents before it.