The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted two additional months to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the charges of bribery and corruption against its former Special Director Rakesh Asthana and Deputy Superintendent of Police Devendra Kumar. Justice Vibhu Bakhru was hearing the plea by the CBI seeking an extension of time to complete the probe. The CBI told the single-judge bench that letters rogatory (LR) had been sent to Dubai and the United States of America and that the responses on the same were still awaited. Justice Bakhru pulled up the CBI for sending the LRs in September when the Court had given time only till July to complete the investigation. The Delhi High Court judge told the CBI to tell its officers “to work a little harder” and that “the investigation cannot be allowed to drag on forever”.
While granting the additional two months, Justice Bakhru made it clear to the CBI that at the end of this, no further time will be granted. Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan, representing Asthana before the Court objected to the extension of time sought by the CBI stating that everything was submitted in a sealed cover and that the accused did not have the access to it to be able to defend it on merits. “We’ll have to argue on principles,” Krishnan told the bench. Asthana and Devendra Kumar, along with middleman Manoj Prasad, are facing a probe for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs. 2 crores in exchange for giving a clean chit to Hyderabad-businessman Satish Sana in the Moin Qureshi case. Ten weeks time was granted by the Delhi High Court to the CBI to conclude the investigation against them in January this year when the Court had refused to quash the FIR against Rakesh Asthana, Devendra Kumar and Manoj Prasad. The time was then extended by another four months in May.
Appearing for Asthana, Dayan Krishnan argued that enough time had already been granted to the CBI and they still couldn't finish the investigation. Krishnan argued that the statutory deadline for completing the investigation is 60 days and the CBI Manual allows only for one year. 'Even if they're awaiting responses to LRs, why should the continuing investigation be delayed', Krishnan submitted. While granting an extension of 2 months, Justice Bakhru noted that no further extension will be granted by the court. 'If new developments come up, you can always file a supplementary chargesheet', the court noted.
CBI on Wednesday stood before the Court seeking a third extension for another three months, only two of which were granted. Justice Bakhru told the investigating agency that the status report submitted by them showed that the investigation was “substantially over” and that this was the last extension being given to them.