NSA Ajit Doval Interfered in Probe Against Asthana: CBI DIG
CBI Joint Director MK Sinha on Monday, 19 November, submitted a petition challenging his transfer to Nagpur before the Supreme Court, in which he has claimed that National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval had interfered in the bribery probe against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, and even stalled a search to be conducted at Asthana’s residence .
In the petition, which has been accessed and read by The Quint, Sinha, who led the team investigating the charges against Asthana and is one of the multiple officers suddenly transferred in October, further alleged that the two middlemen involved in the case, who were named by main complainant Sana Sathish Babu, were close to Doval.
WHAT DOES THE PETITION CLAIM?
According to the petition filed by Sinha, who joined the CBI in 2013, his transfer to Nagpur was “arbitrary, motivated and malafide, and was made solely with the purpose and intent to victimise the officer as the investigation revealed cogent evidence against certain powerful persons”, as was the transfers of the other investigating officers on the case – DySP Shri AK Bassi and SP Shri SS Gurm.
Sinha revealed that in the process of conducting the investigations his team had intercepted one Manoj Prasad, a middleman who had been named by the main complainant, Sana Sathish Babu, in his FIR and later arrested for his connection with the case.
The first thing that Prasad reportedly told Sinha and the team on being brought to the CBI headquarters, was that he had “top contacts” that could help him get out of the situation, which later turned out to be a connection between Prasad’s father and Doval.
HOW DID DOVAL INTERFERE IN THE CASE?
According to the petition, Prasad had stated that his brother Somesh and R&AW officer Samant Goel, had helped Doval on an “important personal matter”.
Sinha claimed that while the FIR against Asthana on was registered on 15 October, CBI Director Alok Verma informed the NSA of same on 17 October.
Meanwhile, middleman Prasad’s brother, Somesh and R&AW Officer Samant Goel had stopped talking on the phone, fearing interception, and had started exchanging WhatsApp messages instead. When Officer AK Bassi learned of this, the petition claimed, he insisted on collecting the phones of the duo, as he believed it held crucial information, which would help the case. But they were denied this, because:
This request was then later put on record, but even then, the director had replied that he was not getting clearance from NSA Doval.
Further, Sinha in his petition claimed that when searches were being conducted at Deputy SP Devender Kumar’s house on 20 October, CBI Director asked him to stop it, stating that the instruction to halt the search had come from none other than Doval.
WHAT DOES THIS IMPLY?
Sinha’s petition states that the call to stop the search in the house of Deputy SP Devender Kumar – the CBI investigating officer in the Moin Qureshi case, who was arrested as part of the investigations against Asthana – came from NSA Ajit Doval himself.
It also claims that the call to prevent the investigating team from collecting the mobile phones of two government officials, who were connected to both Asthana and the middlemen arrested in the case, also came from NSA Doval.
After alleging against Doval and several other top-level officers in his petition, Sinha requested the court to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under its supervision to look into the FIR against Asthana, and to protect officers – or as he calls it “whistleblowers”– like himself.