CBI vs CBI: 'Rakesh Asthana misleading court,' says ASP SS Gurm; moves Delhi HC to testify against special director

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)'s additional SP SS Gurm on Wednesday moved Delhi High Court demanding that his statement be heard in the petition filed by CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana to quash an FIR filed against him by the agency. Gurm claimed that Asthana was "misleading" the court by providing "selective" facts and added that the CBI is trying to protect the Special Director.

According to reports, Gurm's petition is likely to be heard by the high court on Thursday. India Today reported that Gurm claimed a lack of seriousness on behalf of the CBI in pursuing the matter and said that he should also be heard in court regarding the case. Gurm was transferred to Jabalpur after a shakeup within the CBI on 23 October.

In an application before the high court, the additional SP claimed he has "reasonable" apprehension that CBI is seeking to protect and support Asthana and may not effectively contest the petition. He has also sought dismissal of Asthana's petition.

In a midnight operation on 23 October, at least nine officers under CBI director Alok Verma were transferred to other places and operations after Verma and Asthana were divested of their powers by the Centre and sent on leave. The government then appointed Joint Director M Nageshwar Rao as the interim director of the CBI.

The action was taken after open sparring between the director and special director over charges of bribery and corruption. According to reports, a majority of officers transferred on 23 October were from the anti-Asthana camp.

 CBI vs CBI: Rakesh Asthana misleading court, says ASP SS Gurm; moves Delhi HC to testify against special director

Representational image. AFP

Gurm's petition comes a day after another officer who was transferred, DSP AK Bassi, moved the Supreme Court against his transfer order on Tuesday. Bassi, who was leading the agency's investigation of corruption charges against Asthana, was transferred to Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

On Tuesday, Bassi told the Supreme Court that there was electronic evidence to support the allegations of bribery against Asthana. He said that all transcripts of phone calls between Asthana and other accused and middlemen like are available with the CBI but "there is a strong chance that they may not place the same on record".

He also alleged that probe conducted by him into the case against Asthana revealed that the act of demand and acceptance of illegal gratification primarily pertains to two distinct periods of December 2017 and October 2018.

Bassi, whose petition was mentioned before a bench headed by former CJI Ranjan Gogoi contended that his transfer order is "mala fide and derails a sensitive probe" and added that allegations against Asthana are "grave". The bench also comprising Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph said that "it will look into an urgent listing of the plea" after advocate Sunil Fernandes sought listing of the petition on 2 November.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Oct 31, 2018 13:53:24 IST