NEW DELHI: The UK court’s order allowing extradition of Vijay Mallya could not have come at a better time for the CBI, which has been in the eye of a storm for weeks with an ugly battle between its top two officers paying out openly.
Public confidence in India’s premier investigating agency is perhaps at its lowest as it trashes allegations against professional integrity of CBI special director Rakesh Asthana.
Last month, Asthana and CBI Director Alok Verma were sent on forced leave till the time charges levelled against them are probed. Both the officers have levelled allegations of corruption against each other.Earlier, Asthana and his team were working in coordination with the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service and used to attend all the hearings. Asthana also played a crucial role in gathering evidence against the alleged AgustaWestland middlemen Christian Michel, who was extradited to India last week.
During the hearing, Mallya’s defence team had produced its witness, Professor Lawrence Saez, who had made serious allegations about Asthana’s professional integrity. But, during cross-questioning, Saez had agreed that he was no longer saying Asthana had acted corruptly.The UK court also noted that no reliable evidence against Asthana was produced by Saez.