In a sensational development, Republic TV has accessed a letter written by Rakesh Asthana, who has been sent on leave from his post as Special Director of CBI, to the Cabinet Secretary, in which Asthana answers in an almost point-by-point fashion to allegations made against him by BJP MP Dr Subramanian Swamy, which he says at the outset are "baseless and bereft of any fact".
He goes on to call them a figment of fanciful and biased imagination, which thrives on the feeding of Alok Verma Director, CBI (now also on leave) and Rajeshwar Singh (a top ED officer). The letter, which also repeatedly references another letter written by Dr Subramanian Swamy, enumerates the allegations levelled against him, and then replies to each one of them.
Asthana says the following about Dr Swamy's allegations:
Dr Swamy's allegation: "Mr Asthana was in communication with Shri Upender Rai (listed as Undesirable Contact Men by CBI) and because of whom, CBI's seal cover in the Aircel-Maxis probe was leaked to P Chidambaram"
Rakesh Asthana's response: In the letter, Asthana claims that 'sealed cover report in Aircel Maxis case was never put up before him, since the report was made in 2012-2013, when he was not even inducted in the CBI. He joined CBI as Additional Director on April 12, 2016'. Later, he asserts that the CBI has filed a charge sheet in 2014 against Dayanidhi Maran and others, and since then the investigation is going on in CBI. Following this statement, he states that ED is under no obligation to complete the investigation before CBI. He later makes a reference to Rajeshwar Singh, revealing that he has not been able to complete the investigation against P. Chidambaram, even after a lapse of 8 to 9 years now, which "reflects his professional capacity and intention".
As for the INX Media case, Rakesh Asthana countered Dr Swamy's arguments stating that the 'complaint related to INX Media remained pending with ACB Delhi for more than two months, without any progress'. He later, claims that he got it fast-tracked to complete the pending tasks within a week.
Dr Swamy's allegation: "Mr Asthana has been in contact with Afroze Fata, Ahmed Patel and "D-Gang", while connecting them to the police officers"
Rakesh Asthana's response: In his defence, Asthana claims that there is not an iota of truth in the allegations regarding contact with Afroze Fata, Ahmed Patel and "D-Gang"
Dr Swamy's allegation: "Mr Asthana is linked to Mr Ahmed Patel who controls Sandesara and Sterling Biotech Groups. Hence, he has been tampering with the investigation to save them from action in registered CBI case".
Rakesh Asthana's response: He states that 'there is no truth, not even an iota in the allegations against him in helping Ahmed Patel', and that it is also untrue that he has leaked information in the case. He then claims that DCBI Alok Verma, made a "mischievous" attempt to deny him promotion to the rank of Special Director, calling the allegations "baseless".
Dr Swamy's allegations: "No action has been taken in AgustaWestland case against Gandhis" and that Rakesh Asthana met middleman Christian Michel in Dubai and told him to keep quiet and not name the Gandhis or Ahmed Patel.
Rakesh Asthana's response: Asthana claims that the investigation in AgustaWestland Scam was carried out objectively and expeditiously under his "guidance and supervision". According to Asthana, while the case registered in March 2013, it was "nebulous and sluggish", adding that it was only after he took over the case that, 'incontrovertible evidence against senior functionaries of the government of India' was gathered.
Dr Swamy's allegations: "Mr Asthana met Vijay Mallaya and Sandesara together in UK on December 2, 2017, explaining the "hand-shake" between Vijay Mallya and Asthana in the UK court"
Rakesh Asthana's response: In his letter, Rakesh Asthana again claims that 'there is no truth in the allegation that he met Mr Mallya in the presence of Sandesara at Hyde Park, London'. He calls Dr Swamy's allegation 'mere fiction and no fact, whatsoever'. He later says that the defense witness statements containing unsubstantiated allegations were leaked by Alok Kumar Verma and Rajeshwar Singh to the press to 'besmirch his reputation and to help fugitive Mallya in the ongoing extradition proceedings in the London Court'.
Dr Swamy's allegations: "Mr Asthana as Officer Incharge of CBI did nothing against Robert Vadra in Bikaner Land Scam but gave him full protection"
Rakesh Asthana's response: Asthana claims that in the Bikaner Land Scam, two agencies (Rajasthan Police and ED) conducted investigation for three years, but could not trace the money trail. However, he states that under his guidance, SIT unearthed the corporate identities that funded the land sale.
Dr Swamy's allegations: "Mr Asthana tried to get Mr Jyoti Narain into CBI, who violating all norms and gave the sensitive airport pass to Upender Rai despite Rai being in the UCM (Undesirable Contact Men) list. .
Rakesh Asthana's response: In his defense, Asthana reveals that Jyoti Narain, who at present, is the Joint Director of BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security), "is enjoying a reputation of an honest and sincere IPS officer". Rakesh Asthana then reveals that he had no role to play in Narain's appointment, since the selection committee which was headed by the CVC consults with the DCBI in this regard. Later, he calls the allegations "blatantly false".