New Delhi, Jan 11 : In a setback to Special CBI Director Rakesh Asthana, the Delhi High Court on Friday refused to quash the FIR against him in a case involving bribery allegations filed by the agency.

Justice Najmi Waziri directed the CBI to conclude investigation against Asthana, who had a running battle with ousted Director Alok Verma, within 10 weeks.

On December 20, Justice Najmi Waziri had reserved the order on the plea of Asthana and suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Devender Kumar seeking quashing of FIRs against them.

Asthana had said the cases were registered against them in an illegal manner with mala fide intention.

The now ousted CBI Director Alok Verma's counsel has justified the agency's action against Asthana, saying the registration of FIR was in compliance with all existing laws, regulations and after following due procedure.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Kumar fabricated the statement of Sathish Sana Babu, a witness in the businessman Moin Qureshi case, showing he recorded the statement on September 26, 2018, in Delhi.

However, the investigation revealed that Sana was not in Delhi that day. He was in Hyderabad and joined the investigation only on October 1, 2018.

The CBI has registered an FIR against Asthana, Kumar and two others, alleging that they took bribes at least five times between December 2017 and October 2018.

Asthana, a 1984-batch IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre, is accused of accepting a bribe of Rs 2 crore from a businessman who was being probed in the Qureshi case to "wreck" the investigation. The case was being examined by a special investigation team headed by Asthan.

As the battle between Asthana and Verma escalated, Verma was on October 23-24 night divested of his charge and Joint Director M. Nageshwar Rao was made the interim Director. Asthana was also divested of all his supervisory responsibilities.

The government took the decision after Verma and Asthana accused each other of taking bribes.

Verma was finally removed as CBI chief on Thursday by a high-level committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi by a 2-1 majority.

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