The investigating officer (IO) in the alleged corruption case against former CBI special director Rakesh Asthana has sought voluntary retirement from service.
In a letter dated August 19, Superintendent of Police (CBI) Satish Dagar made the request for voluntary retirement under Rule 48 of the Central Civil Services pension Rules 1972 with effect from December 1, 2019. Under the rule, officers seeking voluntary retirement must serve the minimum notice period of three months.
While Dagar did not respond to queries on why he has sought voluntary retirement and if his request has been accepted, the timing of his move has raised eyebrows within the agency. On May 31, Delhi High Court granted the CBI four months to complete its investigation in the Asthana matter.
A CBI spokesperson did not comment on the status of Dagar’s request but confirmed that the officer “applied for VRS on personal grounds”. It remains unclear if Dagar will continue to be the investigating officer in the case of criminal conspiracy and corruption filed against Asthana and other senior officers in October 2018.
Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Babu Sana, on whose complaint the FIR against Asthana and others was lodged, had alleged that he bribed Asthana and others to get relief in a case based on an FIR lodged by the CBI against meat exporter Moin Akhtar Qureshi and others. In the Qureshi matter, there were allegations of receipt of illegal gratification from various persons for securing favours from influential public servants.
The then CBI director Alok Verma and his deputy Asthana had accused each other of corruption. Both were sent on forced leave by the government in October 2018. On January 10, 2019, Verma was removed as CBI director and, a week later, Asthana was transferred to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.
Dagar was made leader of the investigating team into the charges against Asthana on October 24 last year by M Nageswar Rao who took charge as acting CBI director after Verma was sent on leave. Dagar replaced A K Bassi who was transferred to Port Blair in “public interest” with “immediate effect”.
Subsequently, Bassi moved a petition in the Supreme Court challenging his transfer order, and claimed that the agency was trying to bury evidence available against Asthana and other senior officers.
Soon after Dagar became the investigating officer in the Asthana case, the CBI team under him admitted to discrepancies in the seizure reports of the investigation under the previous team.
Dagar was temporarily removed as the IO in the Asthana case when Verma was reinstated. Following Verma’s ouster as CBI director in January, he was back in charge of the case.
Dagar, who joined the agency in 1986, serves as Superintendent of Police in CBI’s anti-corruption unit III. He had also investigated the charges against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim.