CBI infighting: After meeting PM Modi, Alok Verma proceeds to suspend his deputy Rakesh Asthana

As per sources, Verma had sent a letter to the government last weekend, where he batted for Asthana's suspension, calling him "a source of demoralization".
CBI special director Rakesh Asthana (Left) and CBI chief Alok Verma (Right). | (File | Agencies)
CBI special director Rakesh Asthana (Left) and CBI chief Alok Verma (Right). | (File | Agencies)

After meeting PM Narendra Modi on Monday, Central Bureau of Investigation director Alok Verma has proceeded to suspend his deputy, Special Director Rakesh Asthana, NDTV reported on Tuesday.

As per sources, Verma in a letter to the government last weekend had recommended for Asthana's suspension, calling him "a source of demoralization".

The probe agency had filed a bribery case against Asthana, who wrote to the government listing several charges against his boss.

The tiff between the two senior IPS officers of the Gujarat cadre started after a Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana submitted a six-page complaint in connection with a money-laundering case against meat exporter Moin Qureshi

Sathish has alleged that he was asked to pay a bribe of Rs 5 crore to Asthana to be spared in the case. The CBI says Sathish told a magistrate that he had paid Rs 2 crore as bribe to Asthana over a 10 month period from December 2017.

In August 2018, Rakesh Asthana had alleged it was the CBI chief Alok Verma who took that bribe but had framed him because he prevented Sathish from leaving India. Earlier this month, Asthana also accused the CBI chief of trying to frame him in the case of Gujarat-based firm Sterling Biotech which is under investigation for loan default.

The investigation agency has already arrested its DSP Devender Kumar, officials said on Monday. He allegedly committed forgery in recording Sathish Sana's statement. The DSP approached the Delhi High Court on Tuesday, which will hear the matter on its post-lunch session.

CBI on Sunday defended Verma after Asthana put bribery allegations on the former. The agency also termed Asthana's charges as "false and malicious".

In his letters to the Cabinet Secretary and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Asthana had written about 10 cases of alleged corruption and irregularities against Verma, levelling serious corruption charges in some of them.

The whole issue put the Modi government under Opposition fire, as Congress chief Rahul Gandhi who said that the investigative agency has become a weapon of "political vendetta" under NDA rule.

"The PM's blue-eyed boy, Gujarat cadre officer, of Godra SIT fame, infiltrated as No. 2 into the CBI, has now been caught taking bribes. Under this PM, the CBI is a weapon of political vendetta. An institution in terminal decline that's at war with itself," Rahul tweeted.

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal on Monday too said that the BJP has turned CBI into a national disgrace.

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