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CBI vs CBI: Text Msgs Raise Doubt On The Complainant’s Credibility

The Quint accessed text messages that show Sana warning Qureshi of new internal developments in the CBI.

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Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

As shown in the above video, The Quint is in possession of the BBM text messages intercepted by the Income Tax Department between the meat exporter and hawala dealer Moin Qureshi and his close aide, Sathish Babu Sana, a businessman from Hyderabad, showing how deep-rooted their network within the CBI has been.

The conversation was intercepted by the I-T department in 15 June 2013 while probing a tax-evasion case. It has now been shared with the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), who is investigating the bribery allegations against both CBI Director Alok Verma and CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana.

Everything Hinges on Sana

Sana is the key player in the CBI row.

Verma had registered a bribery case against Asthana on 15 October 2018, based on Sana’s complaint, which had been filed on the same day. The FIR said that Sana paid a bribe of Rs 3 crores to Asthana to protect himself in the case against Qureshi.

At the same time, Asthana, who is probing the corruption case against Qureshi, wrote a letter to the Cabinet Secretary and CVC on 24 August 2018, alleging that Sana had paid a bribe to Verma to protect himself.

On the Supreme Court’s order, the CVC is probing the case to find out who Sana actually bribed, if anyone.

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Intercepted Messages Show How Close They Were

The conversation reveals that both Sana and Qureshi had a deep-rooted network within the CBI, and they were keeping a close watch of every development at the agency.

Here is an excerpt from the string of BBM text messages exchanged between Moin Qureshi (MQ) and Sathish Sana (SS), reproduced verbatim:

MQ: U be careful new guy coming.

SS: JD?

SS: Who Sir? Not understand.

MQ: Yes JD.

SS: U there...why i am worrie...

SS: But this new guy is addl charge only.. one more permanent guy will come nxt month as per my info....is it correct sir?

MQ: Yes from Orissa my friend. His cvc clearance is being done.

SS: Great Sir

SS: Then i am not worrie..

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The intercept also shows that Sana is not a fresh face in the files of the CBI, ED and I-T Department. He had been on the radar of the agencies since 2013.

The intercepted conversation had earlier been shared with the CBI and ED by the I-T Department after a case of corruption and money-laundering was registered by the agencies.

Clearly, both Verma and Asthana were aware of Sana’s close relationship with Qureshi.

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The Critical Questions

The conversation between Qureshi and Sana raises several critical questions.

  1. Why did Asthana rely on Sana’s allegation that he bribed Verma with Rs 2 crore, knowing that his credentials were questionable?
  2. Why didn’t Verma verify Sana’s allegation of bribing Asthana with Rs 3 crore before registering the FIR on the very day he received the complaint?
  3. Will CVC take cognisance of this conversation in the ongoing probe against Verma and Asthana?
  4. The conversation totally discredits Sana. Will CVC ask Sana to provide evidence that he actually bribed one of the CBI top bosses, Verma or Asthana?
  5. Why didn’t the agencies act upon the conversation immediately after interception it?
  6. Is Sana being used by CBI top bosses to settle person scores?
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The CVC has already recorded the statements of Verma, Asthana and Sana. On 2 November, CVC has to file its findings to the Supreme Court. Depending on CVC report, SC decide the fate of Verma and Asthana.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Moin Qureshi   Rakesh Asthana   Alok Verma 

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