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India: Prime Minister Office summons top two over CBI bickering

New Delhi: The rift in the top in CBI took a serious turn on Monday when a Deputy Superintendent of Police was arrested for alleged falsification of records in the bribery allegations against Special Director Rakesh Asthana as Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped in amid the fracas between the top two officials.

The PMO summoned CBI Director Alok Verma and Asthana in an apparent bid to put a lid on the open war between the two officials, who had levelled bribery allegations against each other.

There was no official word on what the officials discussed with the higher-ups in the Prime Ministers office, but it is understood that the two officials have been told to make amends as the image of the organisation has taken a beating in the public eye, a point opposition parties made in their criticism.

During the day, the agency arrested its Deputy Superintendent Devendra Kumar, who was earlier the investigation officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, on a charge of “falsification of records”.

Kumars arrest comes a day after the agency registered an FIR against Asthana and several others for allegedly accepting bribes to settle a case of meat exporter Moin Qureshi, who is facing multiple cases of money laundering and corruption. The CBI has alleged that bribes were given at least five times between December, 2017 and October this year.

“Kumar, who has been the investigation officer in the Qureshi case, has been arrested on the allegation of falsification of records,” the agency said in a statement.

It said Kumar had fabricated the statement of Sathish Sana, a witness in the Quershi case, showing he recorded the statement on September 26, 2018 in Delhi.

“However, investigation revealed that Sana was not in Delhi on September 26. He was in Hyderabad on that day and joined the investigation only on October 1, 2018,” it added.

The CBI said “It was found that Kumar had fabricated the statement as an after-thought to corroborate the baseless allegations made by Asthana against CBI director to CVC.”

A CBI official said that Sanas statement was recorded on October 3.

He said the agency was also probing the role of other officers of the CBI Special Investigation team (SIT) then supervising the Qureshi case.

The official said the agency during the searches at Kumars residence and his office at the agencys headquarters in south Delhis Lodhi road. The CBI seized eight mobile phones, one iPad and documents pertaining to Qureshi case.

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