The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked its own crooked Special Director Rakesh Asthana for accepting Rs. 2 crores as bribe to sabotage the probe against controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi. CBI also caught the Research and Analytical Wing (RAW)’s No: 2 officer Samant Kumar Goel for fixing the deal between Qureshi and Asthana to close the probe. CBI’s Anti-Corruption Unit 3 has arrested one Manoj Kumar, the middleman who gave money to settle the case on October 16. Senior CBI officials confirmed this unprecedented development and said that a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against Asthana on October 15 and Manoj Kumar has confessed and recorded his statement before the Magistrate on giving bribes. The deal was brokered by RAW officer Goel for Rs.5 crores and CBI special wing intercepted the conversations and Rs.2 crores was already paid.
Manoj Kumar admitted to CBI that he was paying bribe to Asthana on behalf of Qureshi, who is facing several cases from the CBI. The FIR names Rakesh Asthana, Moin Qureshi and Manoj Kumar as accused. The FIR also said that RAW’s senior officer Samant Kumar Goel, 1984 batch IPS officer from Punjab cadre was also part of the extortion gang in CBI and facilitated Qureshi in closing the case by paying bribe. At present Goel is not made as accused in the FIR, though it detailed his role in facilitating bribe to Asthana. CBI team has recorded his statement and may soon add him also as accused along with Asthana. The Punjab cadre IPS officer Goel is No: 2 in External Affairs intelligence agency RAW and serving in the rank of an Additional Secretary and head of the West Asia Desk. Sources said that he was in regular touch with Qureshi and his conduits in Dubai. Recently National Security Advisor Ajit Doval found that Goel is dealing with many shady characters in Dubai and submitted a dossier on this regard.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval were briefed about the developments, as soon as after the CBI’s special wing had intercepted the calls of Manoj Kumar and Rakesh Asthana talks on how to hand over the money on behalf of Moin Qureshi. CBI Director Alok Verma has moved files for the suspension of Asthana to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). RAW Chief A K Dhasmana has also moved files regarding the suspension of Goel from service.
Asthana is also facing probes in six cases by CBI including accepting bribes from controversial Sandesara Group and jailed journalist-cum-fixer Upendra Rai. CBI has stated that Asthana was facing probes over these cases and that was the reason he filed cases to CVC against Director Alok Verma and Additional Director AK Sharma.
PMO officers expressed shock on how Asthana dared to dilute the cases against Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s trusted man Moin Qureshi, whose shoddy dealing were criticised by Prime Minister in many public rallies from 2013. It is learned that Modi has asked CBI Director to proceed in all cases against tainted Rakesh Asthana.
Meat Exporter and hawala operator Moin Queshi is now facing seven cases in CBI and RAW’s West Asia Chief was trying to help him through Asthana, said sources. The agencies believe Congress leader Ahmed Patel had “intoxicated” Rakesh Asthana to this stage.
Samant Kumar Goel was eyeing to become next RAW Chief. He is very close to Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh, who is believed to have promised DGP’s post, if he could not bag RAW Chief’s post in the coming months.
It is learned that two days back, NSA Ajit Doval was tasked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to go for integrity and check the antecedents of all top police officials and senior bureaucrats, after the Asthana incident.