Days before the CBI filed an FIR against its Special Director Rakesh Asthana and Deputy SP Devender Kumar on a complaint from Hyderabad businessman Sana Sathish Babu who accused the two officers of seeking a bribe, the agency had in fact backed a proposal to arrest Sana.
In a statement to a Delhi magistrate on October 4, Sana alleged that Rs 5 crore had been demanded from him on behalf of Asthana and Kumar — the Dy SP was the investigating officer in the Moin Qureshi case and was arrested Monday. But CBI internal file notings of October 3, a day before Sana’s statement, called for his arrest along with three others.
Records show that an earlier allegation Sana faced was that he had paid Rs 2 crore to meat exporter Moin Qureshi in November 2012 and phone recordings, obtained by the CBI, revealed that their talk pertained to the bail matter of another CBI accused, Hyderabad businessman Sukesh Gupta.
A note from a CBI Joint Director on the subject of the proposed arrest of Sana (along with Moin Qureshi, Pradeep Koneru and Aditya Sharma, an employee of Qureshi) states that while the Enforcement Directorate (ED) treated Sana as a prosecution witness, in the CBI case he was being seen as a bribe-giver “actively seeking favours in CBI cases on behalf of the accused”.
In CBI records, officers have described Sana’s accounts to them as unreliable since he had been changing his versions of how and why he paid the bribes between 2012 and 2013. While he first admitted during his examination in Hyderabad in October 2017 that he had been directly meeting Moin Qureshi, he changed his account within weeks, claiming that Rs 85 lakh had been directly paid to Moin Qureshi by Sukesh Gupta’s family, and that he too had paid Qureshi Rs 1.85 crore but never demanded it be returned.
Therefore, CBI officers said that the changing accounts of Sana “necessitated” his custodial examination. As reported by The Indian Express, CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana disagreed on the subject of custodial interrogation being referred to the CBI’s Director of Prosecution. While the Director felt it should be done, Asthana felt the arrest proposal should be approved without reference to the DoP.
Among details on the financial deals between Sana and Moin Qureshi, the CBI recorded the fact that the businessman was issued 5 lakh shares of a company, Great Height Infratech, but the original share certificate was endorsed with forged signatures of an employee of the meat exporter.
At the behest of Qureshi, Sana was also made director of other companies such as Empress Estate Pvt Ltd; Forum Agro Foods Pvt Ltd; Millenium Propcon Pvt Ltd; Maxima Packaging Pvt Ltd; and, Evershine Hospitality Pvt Ltd. There is also mention in CBI records about a property in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area being bought by Great Height Infratech from Sana’s “proceeds of crime”.
Until 2004, Sana was an employee of the Andhra Pradesh electricity department. From Kakinada in East Godavari district, he quit his job and moved to Hyderabad to try his luck in real estate. In 2008, he founded Gold Coast Properties Private Limited and Matrix Natural Resources Private Limited. He is also director in Rasama Estates which he started in 2016 and the East Godavari Breweries Private Limited in 2015.
After successful real estate ventures in Kakinada and Hyderabad, Sana acquired enough clout to try his luck in politics and made his way into the East Godavari Cricket Association as its president.
“He was backed by local Congress leaders,’’ an official said. He came in touch with Vankina Chamundeswara Nath, former cricketer and then secretary of the Andhra Cricket Association. Chamundeswara Nath is now vice-president of the Telangana Badminton Association. Sana made Chamundeswara Nath one of the directors in the Gold Coast Properties Private Limited.
Chamundeswara Nath told The Indian Express: “We came in contact because of our association with cricket associations. We both hail from the East Godavari district. I was director in his company until 2010 only. After that, I have had no contact with him.’’
Apart from real estate developers, Sana also made several friends among Hyderabad’s jewellers including Sukesh Gupta of MBS who was arrested by CBI for allegedly defrauding MMTC to the tune of Rs 130 crore through fraudulent transactions. Sana tried to help Gupta in applying for bail which was when he came to the notice of the CBI.