The CBI’s new investigating officer in the bribery case against its Special Director Rakesh Asthana told a Delhi court Wednesday that the agency cannot find Hyderabad businessman Sathish Babu Sana, the complainant in the case.
During proceedings in the court of Special CBI Judge Santosh Snehi Mann, where the agency did not oppose the bail plea of Dy SP Devender Kumar who was arrested in the Asthana case, investigating officer Satish Dagar said: “The complainant (Sana) was not available and he did not turn up against the summons issued… We could not get anything other than what is already there (against Kumar).” Dagar had earlier informed the court that Sana’s mobile phone was switched off and he could not be reached.
Dagar, an SP, took over the probe from Dy SP A K Bassi who was transferred to Port Blair after CBI Director Alok Verma and Asthana were sent on leave by the government.
It was on Sana’s complaint that the CBI under Verma had registered an FIR against Asthana, Devender Kumar and alleged middlemen Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad.
According to court records which cited the FIR, the allegation against Kumar was that he had “harassed” complainant Sana by calling him “again and again” on the pretext of examining him in the CBI probe against meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
“Kumar was allegedly acting in conspiracy with his senior supervisory officer to compel the complainant to pay huge amount of money for helping him in CBI case by giving him a clean chit,” the records in court stated. Kumar was arrested, sent to CBI custody and later to judicial custody.
On Wednesday, when judge Mann asked whether the investigating officer had the apprehension that Kumar’s release on bail may “botch up” the case, Dagar, without opposing the bail plea, said: “Strictest conditions can be imposed (on Kumar).” The judge later granted bail to Kumar with certain conditions, including the rider that he should not leave the country without the court’s permission.
Kumar’s lawyer Rahul Tyagi said that “nothing incriminating” had surfaced since his client’s arrest and the arrest was made in violation of standard procedures laid down in the CBI manual for investigation of cases involving complaints against CBI officers. He also pointed to “false implication” of Kumar.
In its reply, the CBI submitted that the case is “still” at the stage of “initial investigation” and allegations against Kumar are under “further verification”.
In her order, judge Mann said: “It is a matter of record that after registration of the FIR containing allegations against the applicant/accused for harassment by repeatedly calling the complainant, nothing incriminating has come or surfaced during investigation against him till date… It is deemed expedient in the interest of justice to grant bail.”