The Supreme Court Friday refused to hear a petition filed by CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana challenging his removal by the government amid a massive infighting within the agency. The court said it will look into the petition on Monday.
Appearing for Asthana, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said he had filed a writ petition and should be heard. Asthana’s petition followed CBI chief Alok Verma’s that was submitted two days ago — hours after he and Asthana were divested of their powers in a late-night move by the government.
In response to Rohtagi, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said: “Why are you late? You missed the bus. Your petition is not before us.” Rohatgi said he will file it and requested the court to hear him Monday next. The court then said it will look into it.
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.
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Asthana had on Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court for quashing of an FIR lodged against him by Verma. The court, in turn, directed the CBI to maintain “status quo” until Monday on proceedings.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court, on hearing CBI Director Alok Verma’s plea, said a CVC inquiry into the allegations against Verma must be completed within two weeks. The court also directed that interim CBI chief M Nageswara Rao shall not take any major policy decisions. Decisions taken by him since October 23 till date shall not be implemented, it said. All decisions taken by Rao shall be placed before the apex court in a sealed cover.
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