Published On: Tue, Dec 18th, 2018

CBI examines Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Sana in Asthana bribery case

New Delhi: The CBI Tuesday examined Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana to verify and corroborate his statement that had formed the basis of its case of bribery against its Special Director Rakesh Asthana.

CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana

Sana was called before a new team constituted by interim director M Nageswara Rao immediately after the government sent both CBI Director Alok Verma and Asthana on forced leave in the midnight of October 23 in the wake of unprecedented feud between the two.

Rao, who has been made in-charge of the CBI, had reconstituted the team probing allegations against Asthana and transferred the members of erstwhile team.

The new team Tuesday called Sana to verify his complaint and asked him to clarify “discrepancies” in his complaint, sources said.

Sana had narrated his meetings with various middlemen in New Delhi as well as Dubai before a magistrate which led to the FIR.

He had claimed that he was seeking relief from the repeated summons issued by the CBI team probing corruption case against meat exporter Moin Qureshi which was headed by Asthana.

Sana has alleged that investment banker Manoj Prasad had assured him that he would get relief from CBI summons if he agrees to pay Rs 5 crore as bribe, the complaint, now part of FIR, alleged.

He also alleged that he was assured by Prasad that his brother Somesh manages investments of Asthana in London and he is in touch with two other senior officers of various agencies.

Sana had recorded a statement under Section 164 of criminal procedure code before a magistrate on October 4 and October 16.

The statement recorded before the magistrate is considered a confessional statement and in case the complainant withdraws from it, the prosecuting agency is well within its rights to file a perjury case.

Prasad was arrested by the agency on October 16, when he was returning from Dubai to allegedly collect an installment of the bribe.

According to the CBI, it has detected five alleged payments to middlemen by Sana – Rs 1 crore on December 10, 2017, Rs 1.95 crore on December 13, 2017, Rs 25 lakh on October 10, 2018 and two tranche of 25,000 Dirham and 3,000 Dirham on October 14.

The agency has also alleged that it has details of file movements and periodic relief given to Sana on the payment of each installment of bribe which show a pattern of favours to the businessman, the sources said.

The CBI claims that it has corroborated details of payment with phone intercepts, WhatsApp messages recovered from the phone of middleman Manoj, and tower locations to buttress its charges.

The complaint filed by Sana mentioned that one of the middlemen made him to listen to a voice and later told him that it was Asthana, senior officer in the CBI.

However, there was no direct meeting between Sana and Asthana mentioned in the statement.

1984-batch Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Asthana was heading the Special Investigating Team handling crucial cases such as AgustaWestland chopper scam and loan fraud by business tycoon Vijay Mallya. The team is also probing the Moin Qureshi case.

Asthana in an exhaustive letter to the Cabinet Secretary on August 24 had given a list of 10 instances of alleged corruption by Verma in which it was alleged that Sana paid the CBI chief Rs 2 crore to get clean chit in the case, government sources had said.

PTI

About the Author