New Delhi: Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Tuesday sent CBI DSP Devender Kumar and Manoj Prasad — arrested in connection with bribery allegations involving the agency’s Special Director Rakesh Asthana – to 14-day judicial custody. The court will hear Kumar’s bail plea on Wednesday.
A special CBI court sent them to jail after the agency said both the accused were not required for further custodial interrogation.
Both the accused were produced before special CBI Judge Santosh Snehi Mann who will hear the bail application of Kumar tomorrow.
During the hearing, Kumar, who was produced after the expiry of his seven-day custodial interrogation, told the court the agency was tampering with and fabricating evidence in case against him.
He submitted that a case of theft and extortion should be lodged against CBI officials probing case.
The court asked CBI to file its reply to Kumar’s application which will be heard Wednesday.
Kumar had moved a bail application before the court on Monday challenging his arrest. In his bail application, moved by advocate Rahul Tyagi, Kumar termed his custody “illegal” and urged the court to set him free.
Two alleged middlemen — Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad — have also been named as accused in the case. Prasad had also moved the court seeking quashing of the FIR against him in the bribery case involving Asthana.
Prasad, who was in the CBI custody till October 30, had sought quashing of the FIR lodged on October 15 and a stay on the investigation by the agency till the disposal of the petition.
“This is a fight between two elephants and one mouse has been caught in between”, Manoj Prasad’s lawyer, Sidharth Luthra, told the Delhi High Court on Monday referring to the ongoing feud between CBI director Verma and his deputy Asthana.
A bench of Justice Najmi Waziri, which Monday extended Asthana’s protection from arrest till November 1, also directed the CBI to file reply on Prasad’s plea on or before October 31.
Kumar, earlier the investigating officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, was arrested on the allegations of forgery in recording the statement of businessman Sathish Sana, who had alleged to have paid bribe to get relief in the case.
In his statement, Sana had purportedly said that he had in June this year discussed his case with Telugu Desam Party’s Rajya Sabha member C M Ramesh who, after speaking to the CBI Director, had assured him that he would not be summoned again.
The CBI has now alleged that Kumar had fabricated this statement as an “afterthought…to corroborate the baseless allegations made by Asthana against CBI Director Alok Verma to the CVC (Central Vigilance Commissioner)”.
They said the agency was also looking into the alleged role of other members of the special investigation team headed by Asthana.
Asthana, who was booked by the agency on bribery charges in an unprecedented action, had complained against Verma on August 24, 2018.
In an unprecedented midnight move, the government had divested both Verma and Asthana of their duties and sent on leave on the intervening night of October 23 and 24 in the wake of their bitter feud that triggered a crisis in the 55-year history of the CBI for the first time.