The affidavit accuses NSA, Cabinet Secy, Law Secy, CVC, MoS of shielding Asthana from graft probe
A day before the scheduled hearing on the fate of CBI Director Alok Verma’s petition, agency DIG MK Sinha on Monday filed an explosive affidavit in the Supreme Court accusing National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha, Law Secretary Suresh Chandra, CVC KV Chowdary and RAW’s Dubai Officer Samant Kumar Goel and Minister for State Haribhai Parthibahi Chowdhary for trying to save CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana from corruption charges.
In his affidavit, the CBI DIG accused Doval of interfering in the bribery investigation against Asthana and preventing searches on the premises of suspects. Sinha, who was transferred while probing bribe charges against Asthana, also claimed that a Union Minister of State took “a few crores” to help a businessman under investigation.
Challenging his transfer to Nagpur, Sinha said he possessed “documents that will shock the court”. However, rejecting his request for an urgent hearing on Tuesday, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi shot back, “Nothing shocks us.”
Sinha claimed after the Government sent Verma and Asthana on “forced” leave and transferred the entire team investigating charges against Asthana, he heard an officer telling “things have been managed and everything is fine”.
In his affidavit, the CBI DIG also accused the Cabinet Secretary and the Law Secretary of even intervening to scuttle the CVC’s probe which is monitored by the Supreme Court. Sinha also detailed the pressure he faced in arresting Manoj Prasad, who is co-accused with Asthana for allegedly accepting the bribe from businessman Sana Satish Babu, an associate of controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
“On the morning of October 16, 2018, accused Manoj Prasad was intercepted at Delhi Airport on his arrival from Dubai and brought to the CBI Headquarters. During the first few hours of his arrival on CBI Headquarters, Manoj was garrulous and arrogant, both at the same time and in equal measure. He was interviewed by the applicant (DIG MK Sinha) and others. He tried his best to ward off the investigation by dropping names of ‘high and mighty’ and mentioning his ‘top contacts’ to create fear in our mind.
“As per Manoj Prasad, Dineshwar Prasad, father of Manoj and Somesh, who retired as RAW Joint Secretary, has a close acquaintance with the National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. This was one of the first things Manoj claimed on being brought to the CBI HQ as he expressed complete surprise and anger as to how the CBI could pick him up despite his close links with NSA Doval,” said the CBI DIG’s affidavit.
“He started bragging and claimed that his brother Somesh is very close to an officer in Dubai (name withheld) and to Samant Goel, presently RAW Special Secretary, and he can get us finished off/kicked out. Manoj taunted us that you people have no standing whatsoever and therefore should stay in limits and let him free. He claimed that recently his brother Somesh and Samant Goel helped the NSA on an important personal matter. He further claimed that India opted out of a contest from INTERPOL.” said the affidavit filed by Sinha.
“Regarding genuineness of this claim of Manoj, no attempt was made to verify the claim regarding NSA Doval,” said the affidavit filed by Sinha. He said later he found that Manoj Prasad’s information about India opting out from Interpol was factually correct.
“When the IO, AK Bassi, came to know that Samant Goel/ Somesh had stopped talking and were exchanging WhatsApp messages, he insisted that we need the cellphone sets of the public servants as the evidence is likely to be stored on the device and that search be conducted. The CBI Director did not give immediate permission and reverted that the NSA has not permitted the same,” said the affidavit.
The CBI DIG in his affidavit also said that during interrogation they found that Manoj Prasad and brother Somesh Prasad were in regular touch with Rakesh Asthana and Somesh Goel. He said that there were several WhatsApp messages to prove this “dubious links.” The officer further said his team has records of conversation between Rakesh Asthana and Samant Goel, when Manoj Prasad was in their custody.
The affidavit filed by Sinha brings to light the role of the Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha in protecting Astana. “In the morning of October 17, 2018, a call came from the DCP of Special Cell of the Delhi Police on the mobile of Investigating Officer AK Bassi, DSP, CBI, who did not take the call. Later another Inspector of Special Cell called up and sought to know if Manoj has been arrested. Enquiries revealed that the query had originated from the Cabinet Secretariat.”
Further, the interesting part is how a Minister in the Modi Government intervened with the DoPT to protect Asthana. “As per Sana, Shri Haribhai (Minister of State) had intervened with the senior officers of CBI through the office of the Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, to whom, apparently, the CBI Director reports to,” said the CBI DIG.
He also said that CVC Chowdhray also met Sana to save his relative from these issues. The officer said that the CVC and Asthana were also in touch during these days. “Sathish Babu Sana also disclosed that he met CVC KV Chowdhary along with one Gorantla Ramesh (close relative of Chowdhary and owner of Delhi Public School Hyderabad, as per Sana) somewhere in Delhi (exact date and location was not informed) and that they discussed Moin Qureshi’s case. As per Sana, in the year 2011, Gorantla Ramesh sold some land and gave around Rs 4 crore out of the said sale consideration to Sana, in the same month, in which Sana had given Rs 50 Lakhs to Moin Qureshi. Therefore, Gorantla Ramesh was examined by CBI in the Moin Qureshi’s case.
“As per Sana, subsequently, CVC Chowdhary called Rakesh Asthana to his residence and made enquiries. Asthana informed the CVC that there is not much in evidence against them. There is no illegality in this, but the same is put on record here for the sake of completeness. No verification was undertaken and the same is based on disclosure made by Sana”
“On October 23, 2018, the applicant herein was informed by DIG/DD (SU) that someone spoke to Samant Goel (who was in Chandigarh at that time) and asked to help him to which Samant Goel replied things have been managed with the PMO and everything is fine. The same night the entire investigating team was shifted,” said CBI DIG pointing a finger at the PMO.
The CBI DIG also said that on November 8, Sana was advised by Law Secretary Suresh Chandra to save Asthana from the Supreme Court monitored CVC probe. He said that IAS officer Rekha Rani met Sana to contact the Law Secretary. The woman IAS officer was owner of Sana’s office premises. According to Sana, Chandra told him that he was talking to him on behalf of Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha. “Sana spoke to him on WhatsApp on the evening of November 8. The Union Law Secretary, Suresh Chandra, said he was in London for some work related to the Nirav Modi case, that he was trying to contact him for last 4/5 days in order to convey message of Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha that the Union Government will offer full protection to him, that there will be a drastic change on Tuesday (13th) and that he (Sana) should meet him (Suresh Chandra) on Wednesday(14th),” the petition says.
Responding to the allegation, the Law Secretary told media that the allegations were totally baseless. “This is all false. I never went to London, I don’t know who Satish Sana or Rekha Rani is. It is a complete fabrication,” said Chandra. read more posts…
Tuesday, 20 November 2018 | PNS | New Delhi—
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