CBI Director Alok Verma challenges ouster in SC

Alok Verma

In a first for the 55-year old investigative agency, its Director Verma and Special Director Asthana were stripped of their powers and sent on leave, following allegations of corruption.

The decisions, which included the mass transfer of CBI officers investigating corruption charges against Alok Verma's deputy Rakesh Asthana, will be scrutinised, the three judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi indicated. Moreover, the SC not questioning the legality of the decision also means that M. Nageswar Rao, an IPS officer considered close to the Modi government, continues to remain the CBI director in the interim period.

Mr Gandhi then got on to a truck in front of police barricades near the CBI headquarters in the CGO complex to prevent the protestors from reaching the building.

Later on Wednesday evening, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan moved the Supreme Court, seeking the registration of an FIR into the Rafale deal.

After the court set the two-week deadline for the CVC to complete its probe, it adjourned the hearing and Verma's counsel Fali S Nariman could not press for the stay on the government's orders against Verma and giving charge to Rao. The Congress alleged that it was because Verma had begun asking questions about the Rafale deal that he was removed.

"Decisions taken by Rao from 23 October till date shall not be implemented", the court said.

The CVC, through solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, sought more time to conduct the inquiry, saying two weeks would not be enough.

During the hearing, CVC pleaded that two weeks for CBI enquiry is not enough as it has to look into several documents. Following this M Nageshwar Rao was appointed as the interim director with immediate effect.

Though the CBI has clarified that Verma is still the chief and only temporarily asked to go on leave pending probe into allegations of misconduct against him, the Congress remained defiant in its demand for his reinstatement.

While Modi government has been blamed for the current mess in the Central Bureau of Intelligence (CBI) and now highhandedness, it is being widely apprehended that Judge Loya's fate could be awaiting ousted CBI director, Alok Verma.

Jaitley told mediapersons that the allegations that were being levelled by Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana had led to a "bizarre and unfortunate" situation. Asthana, it was said, has close links with the top officials of the prime minister's office and was handling important cases against the opposition leaders.

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