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Complaint against CBI No. 1: Bid to call off Lalu raid, bribe in Moin Qureshi case

CBI Chief Alok Verma leavs the Home Ministry after a meeting in New Delhi on tuesday. The CBI chief works from the North Block every Tuesdays and Thursdays. Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal 231018

New Delhi :From the IRCTC scam to accusations of accepting bribe in Moin Qureshi’s investigations and ignoring intelligence report on coal scam, the allegations levelled by CBI special director Rakesh Asthana, the number 2 in the probe agency, against the number 1, Alok Verma, will now come under probe by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) following Supreme Court’s order .

There are nine allegations of misconduct, interference in investigation, and corruption — the CVC is required to examine them within two weeks.

Before he was ousted as CBI director late Tuesday night, Verma had booked Asthana for allegedly receiving money to give relief to one Satish Babu Sana, who was being investigated by the CBI in the Moin Qureshi case.

Asthana had levelled similar charges against Verma, before the latter booked him, in letters to the Cabinet Secretary on August 24.

Asthana’s complaint was referred on August 31 to the CVC, which called Asthana for examination on September 10. Asthana produced documents and files to substantiate his allegations against the CBI director. After perusal of documents produced by Asthana, and his deposition, the CVC served a notice on Verma on September 11, demanding files and documents.

One of Asthana’s main allegation was that Sathish Babu Sana paid Verma Rs 2 crore to get a clean chit in the Moin Qureshi case. He claimed Verma held the file for nearly four days and marked it to the Director of Prosecution (DoP) on September 24, and the latter demanded all evidence available on record.

Asthana also said the team under him had opened a lookout circular against Sana, and preemptive action foiled his attempt to escape abroad. The CBI special director claimed that the file was again placed before Verma on October 3 with answers to queries raised by the DoP, but it has not been returned till date.

In his response to the CVC on September 18, Verma instead levelled allegation against Asthana and raised the issue of his integrity. In its communication to CVC, the CBI said it is investigating Asthana’s role in at least half-a-dozen cases.

The CVC’s October 23 order stated, “The CBI requested that complaint of Asthana should be viewed as a desperate attempt by a tainted officer to intimidate officers of various ranks in CBI.”

On making the documents available, the CBI informed CVC on behalf of its director that “records (in Moin Qureshi case) run into thousands of pages, files scattered at various places like branch, malkhana, courts are being sought and will be produced before the commission in 3 weeks”.

Another allegation against Verma relates to the IRCTC scam, involving RJD chief Lalu Prasad, his wife and former Bihar CM Rabri Devi, and son Tejashwi Yadav.

Asthana has alleged that Verma had asked him to call off raids planned against Lalu in Patna last year at the last moment. The CBI, however, conducted the raids and filed a chargesheet.

Asthana also claimed that the name of a senior Railways official, Rakesh Saksena, was kept off the FIR in the IRCTC case. Another accusation deals with Verma allegedly not taking action on intelligence inputs. Asthana alleged that despite warning, Sandeep Jajodia and Ashok Chaturvedi, accused in coal scam cases, no lookout notice was served.

Another charge that will come under probe relates to registration of a preliminary enquiry by CBI in the case of land acquisition in Nangli, Umarpur, Tigra, Ulhawas and other villages of Haryana to build residential sectors in Gurgaon. According to Asthana’s complaint, he received information that about Rs 36 crore had changed hands to ensure that the probe was closed and no criminal investigation launched. “It was found that then-director of town planning and a real estate company owner were liasoning with joint director A K Sharma and Alok Verma,” Asthana stated in his complaint.