The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday, 23 October, suspended DSP Devender Kumar, who was arrested a day earlier, in connection with an alleged bribery case. 

Kumar, accused of falsifying witness statement, has been sent to CBI custody for seven days remand by the Delhi HC.

The Delhi High Court refused to stay investigation in the alleged bribery case, that names CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana and three others as accused. 

The court has said that no coercive action to be taken against Asthana, which means he cannot be arrested or searched till the next date of hearing on 19 October. However, he can be summoned by the CBI for questioning

The agency has been embroiled in an internal tiff between its top two officials – Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana, with the duo levelling allegations of bribery against each other.

Former Union Minister Arun Shourie “complimented” CBI Chief Alok Verma and has staff for investigating allegations against the agency’s second-in-command Rakesh Asthana.

“I would compliment Verma’s (CBI chief Alok Verma) staff for investigating Asthana when they know he has the backing of what’s called in India ‘the highest of the land’. This must be investigated until the end,” Shourie told NDTV.

Shourie asserted that it was within Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s purview to find “remedial measures,” but he should not “interfere” in the course of the investigation.

The CBI announced that it is investigating the 2016 wedding of the daughter of its Special Director Rakesh Asthana in Vadodara, following the bribery charges against the latter. According to The Indian Express, the agency questioned about a dozen people and heard back from at least four hotels on expenses made and facilities provided.

According to the replies and CBI documents, several venues were availed by the Asthana family on a “complimentary” basis. However, catering and other services at for the wedding were paid for in credit cards and cheques.

While advancing arguments on Asthana’s plea seeking to quash the FIR against him on bribery allegations, CBI’s counsel K Raghavacharyulu, in an apparent reference to Asthana, said that “if there is pest in wood, wood will become useless”, PTI reported.

He repeated that “wood will be useless, if pest catches it”. Justice Najmi Waziri then interjected and warned the counsel from making such comments.