While CBI Director Alok Verma — against whom attempts to shunt him out of an explosive investigation into the second-in-command at the Central Bureau of Investigation, Special Director Rakesh Asthana, perceived to be very close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP National President Amit Shah since their Gujarat government days pre-dating 2014 — has put up a brave and honourable fight against institutional corruption within the various branches and agencies of the government, the intervening application of Manish Kumar Sinha, a top IPS officer also investigating the Asthana case, has not only corroborated to the submissions made by Verma, but in fact made fresh and severely damning allegations against one of the top bureaucrats in the country, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, as well as against Union Minister Haribhai P Chaudhary, CVC KV Chowdary, and Samant Goel, Special Secretary, Research and Analysis Wing, among others.
Advocate Sunil Fernandes, on behalf of Manish Kumar Sinha IPS, DIG (Head of Branch), CBI, Anti-Corruption Branch, Nagpur, Maharashtra approached the Supreme Court pleading that Sinha’s transfer is arbitrary, motivated and mala fide, made solely with the purpose and intent to victimise the officer as the investigation revealed cogent evidence against certain powerful persons. Sinha demanded a Supreme Court monitored SIT probe in the FIR against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, while also adding the the evidence in the FIR against Rakesh Asthana as well as the call records and messages on mobile phones on IO Devender Sharma be preserved, and his transfer be nullified.
Application filed through advocate @hisunil by CBI officer M K Sinha assailing his abrupt transfer has been taken on record in the petition filed by CBI Director Alok Verma that is listed for hearing tomorrow, 20.11.2018 at 10:30 AM. pic.twitter.com/2reKGufTMK
— The Leaflet (@TheLeaflet_in) November 19, 2018
Sinha, who claims to have a “bird eye’s view of the investigation against Rakesh Asthana”, Special Director, was the head of branch where the FIR was filed against Asthana until he was transferred to Nagpur on October 24, 2018. He sought for quashing of his transfer order. Sinha requested the Supreme Court to grant an urgent hearing as an intervenor in the petition by CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma. However, the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi refused to grant Sinha an urgent hearing.
Sinha said that he interviewed Sathish Sana at CBI Headquarters on October 20, 2018 and Sana stood by the contents of his complaint. He also claimed that in June 2018, a few crores of rupees was paid to Shri Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhury who is the current Minister of State for Coal and Mines in the Government of India. Sana said that Minister Haribhai intervened with the Senior Offices of CBI through the office of the Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension. The matter was reported to the Director and Additional Director. When Sana was asked why his complaint does not mention the name and role of Minister Haribhai, he replied that complaint was already made to CVO of CBI and he acted as per the guidance of his lawyers.
Sinha said that searches were conducted at the residence and office of Devender Kumar, Deputy SP, CBI who investigated the Moin Qureshi case. During the search, Sinha received a call from the CBI Director asking to stop the search who was following the instructions of NSA Ajit K Doval.
Sinha also claimed in his application Union Law Secretary Suresh Chandra intervened during the CVC proceedings who contacted Sathish Sana through Rekha Rani, an IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, who conveyed the message of Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha that the Union Government will give him full protection.
Sinha cited the Moin Qureshi case which was registered in January or February, 2017 and is still under investigation as an example and said that the CBI and Enforcement Directorate had called Sana multiple times making him a witness which shows that he may not be the central player in the Moin Qureshi Case. He criticised saying that such open-ended investigations give ample scope to corrupt elements to indulge in illegal or undesirable activities.
Sinha claimed that a timeline must be fixed for investigation of such cases so that agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation doesn’t become “Centre for Bogus Investigation” and Enforcement Directorate doesn’t become “Extortion Directorate”.
Another petition by Ashwini Kumar Gupta was also filed on Monday challenging his repatriation to the Intelligence Bureau.
Meanwhile, CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma’s lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan informed the Supreme Court that Alok Verma had not been able to file his response to which CJI Ranjan Gogoi said that the response be filed on the same day and the date for hearing will not be changed. Following this, Alok Verma did file his reply to the report by the Central Vigilance Commission to the Supreme Court.
Read CBI DIG Manish Kumar Sinha’s intervening application.
[Banner image credit: NDTV]