CBI director Alok Verma on Friday opposed a plea seeking quashing of an FIR against the agency’s special director, Rakesh Asthana, among others, in a bribery case and submitted in Delhi High Court that the case was lodged on the basis of “enough incriminating” documents.
Verma also submitted that Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P S Narasimha had told the agency that prior government approval was not required before registering an FIR against public servants on allegations of corruption.
One of the arguments by Asthana in his plea for quashing of the FIR was that the agency did not take the Centre’s approval before registering the case against him.
Verma submitted before Justice Najmi Waziri of the High Court that his name was dragged in the case “only to malign” his image and “that of other (CBI) officers”.
Verma stated in this affidavit filed on Friday, “…(the) FIR dated October 15, 2018 is validly and legally registered based on cogent material disclosing cognizable offences and it does not require any interference at this stage as the investigation into the serious allegations has yet to be carried out, and therefore the instant petitions ought to be rejected and dismissed.”
The CBI chief’s response came during hearing of the separate petitions — filed by Asthana, Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad — who have sought quashing of an FIR against them.
Kumar has been granted bail by the trial court. The court extended its October 23 interim order against Asthana, ordering “status quo” until December 14 in the criminal proceedings against Asthana in connection with the FIR against him.
Appearing for Asthana, senior advocate Amrendra Sharan and advocate Amit Anand Tiwari questioned the procedure under which the FIR was lodged against the CBI’s Number 2 officer. They claimed that government approval was needed before lodging an FIR against him.
Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Devender Kumar, also said government approval was required. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Vikramjit Banerjee, who appeared for the CBI, along with its special prosecutor
Rajdipa Behura, said, “Prior sanction to lodge FIR was not required when an investigation was already underway and when a cognizable offence comes to the notice of a law enforcement agency.”
Verma’s affidavit, filed through advocate Rahul Sharma, stated that the agency had sought an opinion on this from ASG Narasimha, who “opined that there is no need for obtaining any sanction or approval of competent authority under Section 17A of Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act if an inquiry or investigation has already commenced on the date Section 17A came into force”.
The CBI chief argued that the FIR was registered in compliance with all existing laws and regulations, and after following the due procedure.