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The Delhi High Court today granted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) two more months to conclude the probe into the bribery case against its former Special Director Rakesh Asthana and DSP Devendra Kumar.
The order was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru in a plea by the CBI seeking an extension of the time period granted to it to complete the investigation in the case.
Asthana and Devendra Kumar, along with middleman Manoj Prasad, are facing a CBI probe for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs. 2 crore in exchange for giving a clean chit to Satish Sana in the Moin Qureshi case.
On January 11 this year, the High Court had refused to quash the FIR lodged against Asthana, Devender Kumar and Manoj Prasad with respect to the investigation. On that date, a Single Judge Bench of Justice Najmi Waziri had directed the CBI to conclude the investigation against Asthana and others in ten weeks.
On May 31, this deadline was extended by another four months by Justice Mukta Gupta.
A second extension was sought by the agency today, on the ground that it was awaiting the response of certain Letters Rogatory sent to UAE and USA, apart from investigating some other areas. CBI thus pressed for an extension of three months.
After going through the status report submitted by the CBI in sealed cover, Justice Bakhru observed that investigation in the case was “substantially over”.
The Court thus opined that given the facts and circumstances, it was appropriate to grant an extension of two months.
The Court also clarified that no further extension would be granted in the case.
CBI’s plea was opposed by Asthana and Kumar, as well as the alleged middleman. It was argued on behalf of Asthana and others that the investigation could not be allowed to go on endlessly.
It was pointed out that as per the CBI Manual and CrPC, the time period for any probe to be concluded could not be extended beyond one year and 90 days, respectively.
CBI was represented by ASG Vikramjit Banerjee.
Rakesh Asthana was represented by Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan with Advocate Amit Anand.
Manoj Prasad was represented by Senior Advocate N Hariharan.