The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a plea filed by CBI special director Rakesh Asthana seeking quashing of FIR filed against him. The High Court ordered the CBI to complete the probe within 10 weeks and file a chargesheet. In his petition, Asthana had challenged the FIR saying that it was motivated at the behest of Alok Verma. It is seen as a major setback for CBI No.2 Rakesh Asthana. The FIR against Asthana was filed on the complaint of Hyderabad-based businessman Sana Satish Babu.

 The High Court said Section 17A of Prevention of Corruption Act protects officers to discharge duties fairly and when public servant’s act is criminal, such sanction isn’t necessary. 

Asthana’s lawyer Amarendra Sharan had said that prior sanction was required under Section 17A of Prevention of Corruption Act to act against the official. On December 20, Justice Najmi Waziri had reserved the judgement after concluding the arguments in which the Alok Verma contended that all due procedures were followed while registering FIR against Asthana on bribery allegations. Asthana was sent on forced leave on October 23 along with Alok Verma. 

The fresh developments in the CBI case have triggered another round of political war of words between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress. This comes a day after Alok Verma was removed as CBI chief by three-member Selection Committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The high-powered committee also includes Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress leader in Lok Sabha, and Justice AK Sikri, who was nominated by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

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