Millennium Post

Delhi HC directs DCBI to appear in court if probe not finished by Feb 10

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday seriously rebuked the CBI for its continued delays in finishing the bribery probe against former agency Special Director Rakesh Asthana and has directed the agency chief Rishi Kumar Shukla to appear before it if the investigation in the case is not completed by February 10, giving the central agency its fourth deadline to complete the probe against Asthana.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru also took serious note of the fact that the Central Bureau of Investigation had disregarded multiple orders of the court asking the agency to finish the investigation in a time-bound manner. "Despite the time frame being specified, investigation has not been completed by the CBI. Moreover, it was clarified by the court in the last hearing that no further time will be provided to the agency. However, the investigation is still not completed by the agency."

Additional Solicitor-General Vikramjit Banerjee appeared for the CBI on Wednesday and told the court that the final report in the case has been prepared and vetted at four out of eight levels. He added that the investigation report is currently awaiting the scrutiny of the Director of Prosecutions. ASG Banerjee also moved an application to consider a prayer mentioned in the status report of the case, which was submitted in a sealed cover.

ASG Banerjee said on Wednesday that the investigation was in its tail end and would be completed soon while senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Asthana and argued that the agency should be given a 10-day-extension if given one at all.

Justice Bakhru said, "It doesn't matter if you burn the midnight oil. Whoever is supposed to complete it, must complete it in a time-bound manner. We can't have court's orders get stifled like this." He added that the CBI Director's appearance could be done away with if the investigation is completed by February 10, the next date of hearing in the case.

The CBI had sought the fourth deadline to finish the probe in the case on December 16 last year after failing to submit the final report by December 9, the earlier deadline.

The Delhi High Court had in January 2019 given the agency four months to complete the probe in the case, after which the agency was given a two-month extension on May 31 last year and another two-month extension on October 9. The October extension had made it clear that no further time would be provided, with the court remarking that the agency could always keep the probe open and file a supplementary chargesheet if new developments came to light.

Earlier the court had also rapped the agency for delaying the sending of LRs to the USA and UAE while being aware of the July deadline to finish the probe. The court had at the time noted that investigation should have been completed by now if the officers of the CBI could have functioned more efficiently.

As the investigation was being concluded, the CBI had in December last year regularly called complainant Satish Sana Babu to its headquarters in order to corroborate additional information with respect to the case, according to sources in the know.

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