CBI Additional Director Rakesh Asthana suffered a setback on Friday as the Delhi High Court refused to quash an FIR against him on bribery allegations while setting a 10-week deadline to complete investigations.

The high court order also rejected his contention that the FIR was registered because of “mala fide” intentions of the then CBI director Alok Verma, saying nothing of that sort could be made out.

In his order, Justice Najmi Waziri vacated the interim order that granted Asthana protection against criminal proceedings, which in effect meant there is no bar on his arrest.
The court also refused to quash the FIR lodged against CBI Deputy Superintendent Devender Kumar and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad.

Verma and Asthana are locked in a bitter factional feud which led to charges and counter-charges. Asthana had filed a complaint against Verma with the Cabinet Secretary in August last year citing misconduct and corruption, while Verma registered an FIR against his bete noire on October 15 last year. This led to the government decision to send both on leave on October 23.

Asthana was booked on charges of criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct under the relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The FIR against Asthana was based on a complaint filed by Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Sana who claimed he paid a bribe to get relief in a case linked to controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

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