We’ve Been Framed: Accused’s Kin on Bribery Case Involving Asthana

Exclusive | The accused’s father-in-law told The Quint he never met the complainant or took money in bribery case. 

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India
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Special Director CBI Rakesh Asthana charged in bribery case.
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In an unprecedented move, the CBI on 15 October registered an FIR against Special Director CBI Rakesh Asthana, and three others, namely Devender Kumar, Deputy Superintendent of Police in CBI, Manoj Prasad, and Somesh Prasad, who allegedly accepted the bribe on behalf of Asthana.

The FIR was registered under Section 120B (conspiracy) of the IPC and Sections 7 (illegal gratification), 13(2) (criminal misconduct), 13(1)(d) (taking bribe) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and Section 7A (to influence public servant by corrupt means) of Prevention of Corruption Act (as amended in 2018).

The Quint spoke to accused Somesh Prasad’s father-in-law, Sunil Mittal, who allegedly collected Rs 1.95 crore from the complainant Sathish Sana on behalf of the Special Director CBI Rakesh Asthana – prime accused in the case – as mentioned in the FIR.

In the FIR Sana has said,

“I arranged and paid an amount equivalent to Rs 1 crore to Manoj Prasad at his office in Dubai. Thereafter, on being informed by Somesh Prasad about the details of one Sunil Mittal – his contact person – I arranged payment of an amount of Rs 1.95 crore to Sunil Mittal. This payment was made on 13 December 2017 at about 9.25 pm in the parking area of Press Club of India, Raisina Road, New Delhi, through one of my office persons namely Punit.” 

Mittal denied all allegations levelled against him, Somesh Prasad and Manoj Prasad. Mittal, however, has not been named as an accused in the FIR.

Here is what he told The Quint:

Your name is mentioned in the FIR, what do you have to say to that?

Unfortunately, it true that my name is mentioned in the FIR. I have taken no money. Somesh Srivastav (Somesh Prasad) is my son-in-law and Manoj Prasad is his brother. The whole case is a frame-up (sic).

The audio of the telephonic conversation with Sunil Mittal.

Did you ever meet Sathish Sana or did you ever speak to him?

No.

Then why did Sana mention your name in the FIR?

I am really surprised. I never met the guy and I have never spoken to him.

Did you ever collect money from him or his men?

No, no. I don’t even go to the Press Club of India in the evening. If I have to go to the Press Club, I go during the day. Otherwise, I am regular at the Gymkhana Club in the evening. I go to Gymkhana Club around 9-9:15 pm everyday. The FIR says that at around 9:12 pm, money was handed over to me in the parking area of the Press Club. The Press Club is not where I was. You can check with the mobile service provider for my location on that particular day. I have called the Gymkhana Club and requested them to give me bills of the particular date in the FIR. They have agreed to send them to me.

Have you been contacted by the CBI so far?

Well, I have been appearing for Mr Manoj Prasad. I am related to him and I have gone to the CBI Headquarters twice to meet Mr Prasad. I went yesterday (21 October) and the day before (20 October). We could hardly talk. The accused is entitled to a copy of the FIR right away but they didn’t give it. The law says that the FIR should be uploaded (on the CBI website) immediately. They didn’t do it, they did it only yesterday night (21 October).

Did Manoj Prasad or Somesh Prasad know Rakesh Asthana?

No. They never met Rakesh Asthana nor did they know him. The FIR says that Asthana stayed at their house in Dubai. Again, that’s a lie.

Could you speak to Somesh Prasad and where is he now?

He is in Dubai. He is not well and his child is unwell too.

What does Somesh Prasad have to say about the FIR?

He is saying that it is a total lie and a complete fraud.

Did they (Manoj and Somesh Prasad) ever meet Sathish Sana?

I think they met Sathish Sana in Dubai.

The CBI had also arrested Manoj Prasad when he returned from Dubai on 16 October. On Sunday, the agency carried out searches at CBI officer Devender Kumar’s residence and seized eight mobile phones and other documents.

According to government sources, Asthana had written to the Cabinet Secretary on 24 August, alleging that Sathish Sana had paid CBI Director Alok Verma Rs 2 crores to get relief in the same matter.

This complaint was also referred to the Central Vigilance Commission which is also probing the matter, said sources.

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