A fresh PIL, has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking court-monitored SIT probe into allegations of corruption against various CBI officials, including Rakesh Asthana, who was stripped of his responsibilities as the agency’s special director, reported.
The Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-headed bench considered the submission of lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO ‘Common Cause’ that there were wider issues of corruption affecting the probe agency and the PIL needed to be heard urgently.
The bench, which also comprised Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, asked Bhushan to furnish details and said it would consider granting an urgent hearing on the petition.
On Wednesday, the top court had agreed to hear on October 26 a separate plea filed by CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma challenging the Centre’s decision to divest him of powers and send him on leave.
Amid an unprecedented feud in the agency, the government divested Verma and Asthana of all responsibilities and sent them on administrative leave, saying the “faction feud has reached its peak… leading to a potential loss of credibility and reputation” of the premier investigating agency.
Asthana, a 1984 batch Indian Police Service officer of Gujarat cadre, is alleged to have demanded a bribe of Rs 5 crore from a Hyderabad-based businessman through two middlemen to help him get off the hook in the Moin Qureshi case.
Verma also alleged corruption on Asthana’s part with regard to the Sterling Biotech case. Asthana hit back by writing to the Cabinet Secretary saying that Verma was interfering in his probes and had tried to stall a raid on Lalu Prasad in the IRCTC case. He also alleged corruption on Verma’s part.>