Internal conflict takes ugly turn at CBI

The internal conflict in the CBI, between chief Alok Verma and de facto number 2 CBI special director Rakesh Asthana, has taken ugly face with the latter writing to the government about a ‘false FIR’ filed against him by his own organisation. Asthana has written to the Centre stating that a false FIR had been lodged against him by the CBI.

Alok Verma, the CBI Director, who is scheduled to remain in office till January next year, is engaged in a bitter fight with Rakesh Asthana and both sides have been levelling allegation against each other in public, a trend which is unheard-of in the history of 77 years of the organisation. In the latest episode the agency is probing whether Rakesh Asthana accepted a bribe through a middleman to scuttle an investigation against a Hyderabad-based businessman, a government official familiar with the matter said requesting anonymity.

Asthana’s name came up in a complaint of Satish Sana, a Hyderabad-based businessman who was being investigated in case involving Moin Qureshi, who was arrested for money laundering. Sana told CBI he paid a Rs 2 crore to Rakesh Asthana over a 10-month period to ensure he wasn’t named in the CBI case against Moin Qureshi.

Asthana claims that the complaint is the result of a conspiracy between him and certain directors of the CBI and ED. He has also claimed that CBI chief and his Chief Vigilance Officer Arun Sharma have participated in corrupt activities. Asthana claimed that the CBI chief had been Rs 2 crore by Sana to scuttle the probe.

Asthana, 1984 batch IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre and said to be confident of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, since his stint in home state. Though Alok Verma is also an appointee of Modi’s regime, the professional egos developed between them said to be causing severe embarrassment to Modi. As Rakesh Asthana is a strong contender to suceed Verma after his retirement in January, next year, the director is beleived to be providing necessary ground to scuttle his attempts.

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