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The Delhi High Court today allowed a plea by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking an extension of the ten-week time period granted to conclude the probe into CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana and DSP Devendra Kumar.
A Single Judge Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta has extended the time period to conclude investigation in the case by four months.
“..the courts cannot prescribe periods of limitation beyond what is prescribed and such time limits cannot and will not be treated by themselves by the courts as a bar to further continuance of the trial or proceeding, mandatorily obliging the courts to terminate the same and acquit or discharge the accused. Similarly, an incomplete investigation can also have the effect of terminating the proceedings and it would be thus in the interest of justice to grant further time for investigation.“, the Court observed.
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 a clean chit to Satish Sana in the investigation into 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.
Days before the expiry of the deadline, the CBI had moved the High Court seeking more time to complete its investigation in the matter. Invoking section 482 CrPC, CBI had argued that the plea was made to facilitate a fair and free investigation. It was also contended that there could be no time-bound fetters on the CBI’s power to conduct an investigation.
CBI’s plea was opposed by Asthana and Kumar, as well as the alleged middleman who is facing an investigation. Asthana and others argued that CBI’s application was not maintainable after the main writ petition was disposed of, and that no further extension should be granted.
The High Court had reserved its order in the matter earlier this month.
CBI was represented by ASG Vikramjit Banerjee.
Rakesh Asthana was represented by Senior Advocate Amarendra Sharan with Advocate Amit Anand.
Devender Kumar was represented by Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan.
Manoj Prasad was represented by Senior Advocate N Hariharan.
Read the Order: