Asthana is our man: Phone intercept in CBI officer Bassi plea to SC

Rakesh Asthana

CBI officer Ajay Kumar Bassi moved the Supreme Court yesterday challenging his transfer to Port Blair in the Andamans and claimed he had incriminating evidence against CBI special director Rakesh Asthana. Bassi referred to phone intercepts in which one of the accused can be purportedly heard saying, “Asthana to apna aadmi hai (Asthana is our man).”

Bassi, in his petition, claimed that the statement of the complainant (Sathish Babu Sana) in the FIR against Asthana revealed “shocking details of alleged corruption and illegal gratification by Shri Rakesh Asthana, the then Special Director CBI, in collusion and conspiracy with other co-accused person namely, Shri Somesh Prasad and Shri Manoj Prasad and other unknown accused persons”.

“The said statement also reveals payment of huge amount to the tune of crores of rupees towards illegal gratification. The statement clearly implicates Shri Rakesh Asthana and Shri Devender Kumar, both officers of the CBI. The investigation conducted by the Applicant herein revealed that the act of demand and acceptance of illegal gratification primarily pertains to two distinct periods of December 2017 and October 2018. There are two instances of acceptance of bribe in Dec 2017 totalling to Rs. 2.95 crores and three instances of acceptance of bribe in Oct 2018 totalling to around Rs. 36 Lacs. All these five acceptances of illegal gratification were in the name of the same public servant namely — Shri Rakesh Asthana through the Prasad brothers,” Bassi claimed in his petition.

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“Investigation further revealed role of another high ranking bureaucrat by the name of Shri Samant Goel, who is presently Spl Secretary of R&AW (Research and Analysis Wing. During the investigation technical surveillance was also done and CDRs were also studied. Investigation revealed that immediately after the news broke out on arrest of Manoj Prasad in the late night on 16.10.2018, Somesh made immediate calls to Samant Goel, who made calls to Shri Rakesh Asthana,” he further alleged.

Bassi also said that the phone transcripts are with the CBI but he is suspicious that they may be tampered with or destroyed.

He requested the top court  to quash  his transfer order, expressing his fear of being used as a scapegoat and victimised for doing his duties honestly.

Yesterday, Bassi had also requested the apex court to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate charges against Asthana.

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