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Congress attacks Modi after CBI official reveals Doval, CVC involvement in probe

The Congress on Monday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi after senior CBI official M.K. Sinha alleged in the Supreme Court that NSA Ajit Doval and Central Vigilance Commissioner K.V. Chaudhary had interfered in the investigation against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana facing bribery charges.

In his application seeking quashing of his transfer to Nagpur on the dramatic night of October 23, Sinha, who was probing the Asthana case before being shunted out, also alleged that a "few crores of rupees were paid to Union Minister of State for Coal and Mines Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhari" by Sana Sathish Babu, a witness in the case against meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

Detailing his interrogation of Manoj Prasad, a middleman arrested in the Asthana case, Sinha said in the petition: "As per Manoj Prasad, Dineshwar Prasad, father of Manoj and Somesh, retired as Joint Secretary, R&AW, and has a close acquaintance with ... NSA Ajit K. Doval.

"This was one of the first things Manoj claimed on being brought to CBI HQ and expressed complete surprise and anger as to how CBI could pick him up, despite his close links with the NSA Doval.

"Prasad claimed that recently his brother Somesh and Samant Goel helped the NSA on an important personal matter. He further claimed that India opted out of a contest from INTERPOL. Regarding genuineness of this claim of Manoj, no attempt was made to verify the claim regarding the NSA," said the petition.

Expressing alarm over the assertions made by Sinha before the court, Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said: "democracy was in peril and Constitution in danger".

"Deeply shocking revelations have surfaced in public domain, which puts a question mark on Prime Minister Modi, the functioning of PMO, allegations of bribery against Minister and NSA helping the accused and CVC being named in these murky dealings," Surjewala told the media here.

"The assertions have been made under oath before the Supreme Court by someone who has been privy to relevant documents and they expose the stench of corruption that pervades the Modi government," he said.

Besides urging the apex court to order a separate probe into the allegations made against the top Modi government officials and Ministers, the Congress leader said the party will raise the issue in Parliament.

Citing a conversation involving R&AW officer Samant Goel, the petition says: "On 23.10.2018, someone spoke to Samant Goel and asked to help him to which Samant Goel replied that things have been managed with PMO and everything is fine. The same night the entire investigating team was shifted."

He has also claimed that Sana Sathish Babu had met Central Vigilance Commissioner Chaudhary in the matter and that Union Law Secretary Suresh Chandra had contacted him (Sana) on November 11.

He had also alleged that when CBI officer A.K. Bassi, who was investigating the Asthana case, asked for permission to seize Asthana's cell phones and for a search, "the Director CBI did not give immediate permission and reverted that the NSA has not permitted the same".

(With inputs from agencies.)

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