Manoj Prasad, an alleged middleman arrested in connection with bribery allegations involving CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, was granted default bail by a Delhi Court today, due to failure of CBI to submit charge sheet within 60 days of the arrest.

Prasad, who was arrested on October 17,prayed for release on default bail. The court had on November 3 denied bail to Prasad, saying it was not a fit stage to grant him relief.

The Special Judge(PC Act) rejected the contention of CBI that 90 days time was available for filing charge sheet as the offences alleged against Prasad was punishable imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years.

The Special Judge Santhosh Snehi Mann noted that the offences alleged against Prasad – Sections 388 & 389 of Indian Penal Code- were punishable with a term which may extend to 10 years. Last year the Supreme Court had held in Rakesh Kumar Paul v State of Assam  with 2:1 majority that for offences which are punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, the charge sheet has to be filed within 60 days of arrest of the accused, failing which the accused will be entitled to default bail.

The majority  in Rakesh Kumar Paul held that the period of 90 days is available only in cases where the offence is punishable with imprisonment for life or for a term not less than ten years.

Following the SC decision, the Special Judge held that Prasad was entitled to default bail on condition of furnishing personal bond of Rs.One lakh with two solvent sureties. He has been directed to appear before the investigating officer every Monday between 10 AM and 1 PM. He is also restrained from leaving the country without the permission of the Court.

On October 31, the Court had granted bail to co-accused and CBI DSP Devender Kumar after the agency did not oppose his bail petition.

The agency had registered an FIR against Asthana and others on a written complaint of businessman Sathish Sana on October 15.

Besides Asthana, Prasad and Kumar, another alleged middleman Somesh Prasad has also been named as an accused in the case.

The FIR had alleged that Kumar, then Investigating Officer (IO) in the case against meat exporter Moin Qureshi, repeatedly called the complainant to the CBI office to harass and compel him to pay a bribe of Rs 5 crore for getting a clean chit in the case.

The complaint had also alleged that a part of the bribe was paid by Sana.