Rakesh Asthana given clean chit by CBI in Sterling Biotech bribery case


The BSF chief was under the scanner in the ₹5,383-crore bank loan fraud case after certain handwritten diaries allegedly mentioned he was the ‘beneficiary’ of unaccounted money

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has given a clean chit to Gujarat cadre IPS officer and currently chief of the BSF and NCB Rakesh Asthana in the Vadodara-based Sandesara brothers’ Sterling Biotech bribery case.

Mr. Asthana, who is also front-runner for the post of the next CBI chief, was under the scanner for certain handwritten diaries maintained by the Sandesara brothers, in which as per the allegations Mr. Asthana was the “beneficiary” of unaccounted money.

The Sandesara brothers and other directors of the Sterling Biotech are fugitives and wanted by the Indian agencies in connection with a ₹5,383-crore bank loan fraud case.

In handwritten diaries, it was mentioned multiple times that money was paid to one “RA.” This was suspected to be Mr. Asthana since he earlier worked as Police Commissioner of Vadodara and reportedly had close family relations with Sandesara brothers.

However, it was later clarified that “RA” stood for running account.

The CBI has now closed the inquiry that was launched to probe the alleged transactions between Sandesara brothers and Mr. Asthana.

“It was a roving inquiry and nothing has been found in it,” a CBI official told The Hindu.

The Sterling Biotech bribery case was one of the several cases former CBI chief Alok Verma had listed against Mr. Asthana, his No. 2 in the organisation, during an open and ugly fight between the two in 2018.

Following this, both were shunted out of the organisation on the recommendation of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner.

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