The CBI has booked its own Special Director Rakesh Asthana for accepting Rs 2 crore bribe to sabotage the probe against controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
The CBI’s Anti-Corruption Unit has arrested one Manoj Kumar, the middleman who gave money to settle the case on October 16. Senior CBI officials confirmed this unprecedented development and said the FIR was registered against Asthana on October 15 and Manoj has confessed and recorded his statement before a Magistrate about the bribe.
Manoj admitted to the CBI that he was paying bribe to Asthana on behalf of Qureshi, who is facing many cases from the CBI. The FIR also said RAW’s second senior most officer Samant Kumar Goel, was part of the extortion gang in the CBI and tried to facilitate closing of the case against Qureshi.
Currently, Goel, a 1984 batch IPS officer from Punjab cadre, is not made an accused in the FIR, but his role in facilitating bribe to Asthana has been mentioned. Sources said that CBI team has recorded his statement and will soon add his name as an accused in the FIR.
Goel currently holds the rank of Additional Secretary in RaW and looks after West Asia affairs. Goel and Querishi used to meet in Dubai frequently.
It is understood that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval were briefed about the developments soon after the CBI’s special wing had intercepted the calls of Manoj. CBI Director Alok Verma has moved files to the PMO recommending the suspension of Asthana. RAW chief AK Dhasmana too has moved files regarding the suspension of Goel from service.
Asthana is facing probes in six cases by the CBI, including accepting bribes from controversial Sandesara Group, and jailed journalist-cum-fixer Upendra Rai. The CBI has stated that Asthana was facing probes over these cases and that was the reason he filed cases to CVC against Director Alok Verma and Additional Director AK Sharma.