Rakesh Asthana bribery case: Delhi HC reserves order on CBI plea seeking more time to complete investigation

New Delhi: The CBI on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that it was asking for more time to complete the investigation in a bribery case involving the agency's former special director Rakesh Asthana so as to conduct the probe in a free, fair and transparent manner.

Justice Mukta Gupta, after hearing the submissions of the counsel for CBI, Asthana, and two others, reserved the order on the application by the CBI seeking an extension of time to complete the probe in the case lodged against Asthana, DSP Devender Kumar and middleman Manoj Prasad.

 Rakesh Asthana bribery case: Delhi HC reserves order on CBI plea seeking more time to complete investigation

File photo of Rakesh Asthana. PTI

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Vikramjit Banerjee, representing the CBI, said they were giving effect to the court's January order by which the agency was asked to complete the investigation in the case within 10 weeks.

"We are doing the investigation in a free, fair and transparent manner. We are only asking for an extension of time to complete the investigation. We are not seeking review of the court's 11 January verdict, that's the crux of my case," he said.

The court was informed that Kumar has filed an appeal before the Supreme Court against the high court's order dismissing his and others' plea to quash the FIR against them.

Senior advocate Amrendra Sharan, appearing for Asthana, said when an order has been passed by the high court in a criminal case and the petition has been disposed of, the court cannot entertain the review plea or any other miscellaneous application.

The ASG also said the CBI was entitled to implement the order of the high court and to conduct a fair investigation and he was asking for a short time of four months to complete the probe. The court had earlier questioned the CBI for not sending Letters Rogatory (LRs) to various countries till mid of April even though it had passed in January the order dismissing the pleas to quash the FIR.

LRs are a formal request from a court to a foreign court for some judicial assistance.

On 11 January, the court had granted 10 weeks to the probe agency to complete its investigation.

The high court in January had disposed of three petitions of Asthana, Kumar, and Prasad by a common order in which CBI was directed to complete investigation in the case within ten weeks.

Earlier, Kumar's lawyers had told the court that the application was not maintainable according to Section 362 of the Criminal Procedure Code which states that a court may not alter or review its final order in a matter except to correct a clerical or arithmetical error.

The court had not agreed with the contention, saying the instant matters were writ petitions and not a criminal complaint and therefore, Section 362 may not be applicable.

Asthana was booked on the allegations of criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct under the relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Kumar, earlier the investigating officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, was arrested on the allegations of forgery in recording the statement of Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, who had alleged having paid a bribe to get relief in the case. He was arrested on 22 October 2018, and granted bail on 31 October.

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Updated Date: May 22, 2019 18:54:39 IST