In a first of its kind, two investigating officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation got into a heated exchange of words during a hearing before an open court on a corruption case surrounding former CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana.
DSP Ajay Kumar Bassi and SP Satish Dagar raised serious allegations against one another before the Special CBI Judge over the investigation conducted against Asthana. While Bassi had investigated the case in the past, the current investigating officer was Dagar who declared before the Court that Bassi was “removed from the case for his biased investigation”.
The exchange occurred during the hearing on whether cognisance should be taken on the charge sheet filed by the CBI in the case. Bassi was giving details of what he had found during his earlier investigation when he was interrupted by Dagar who said Bassi was stating things that were nowhere mentioned in the case diary. Bassi had told the Court that there was “clinching evidence” against Rakesh Asthana but SP Satish Dagar had not seized any electronic evidence, including Asthana’s mobile phone. He accused Dagar of having “made up his mind” to give a clean chit to Rakesh Asthana and other “influential persons” involved in the case from the word go.
Dagar told Bassi about how he had “a much better record within the CBI” while also objecting to any new material submitted by Bassi before the Court. Dagar also accused Bassi of making “personal allegations” asking him “why didn’t you appear when I summoned you six times if you actually wanted to assist in the investigation?”
Special CBI Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal was forced to bring to a stop the verbal spat by telling the two officers that there was “no point in washing their dirty linen in public”. He advised the officers that they were both “working for the same organisation and have to go back there”. Moreover, he said, “the agency was bigger than any one individual”.
This once again brings to light the open divide within the CBI which was first made public during the open war between the CBI no. 1 Alok Verma and the then CBI no. 2 Rakesh Asthana. And as a result of the open rift in the country’s premier investigating agency, questions continue to be raised on their investigation, especially the ones against their own.