File photo of Alok Verma
File photo of Alok Verma

Alok Verma removed as CBI Director, sent to Fire Services

ANI | Updated: Jan 10, 2019 20:54 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan 10 (ANI): Alok Verma was on Thursday removed as the CBI Director on account of the "extremely serious nature of observations made by the CVC against him".
The decision to remove Verma was taken by the Selection Committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprising Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. Chief Justice of India is also a member of the Committee but at today's meeting, he was represented by Justice A K Sikri, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court.
The committee was of the view that being the head of a very sensitive organisation, Verma was "not functioning with the integrity expected of him," according to sources.
The 1979-batch IPS officer was posted as DG, Fire Services, Civil Defence, and Home Guards, two days after he was reinstated as the CBI Director by the Supreme Court. His reinstatement had come about two-and-a-half months after being divested of his powers and sent on leave by the government.
In his place, 1986-batch IPS officer M. Nageshwar Rao, who is Additional Director of CBI, will look after the duties of the Director, till the appointment of a new Director or until further orders, whichever is earlier, according to an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training.
The sources claimed that the CVC allegedly found evidence of influencing of investigation in the Moin Qureshi case.
There was also allegedly evidence of Verma taking bribe of Rs. 2 crore, the sources claimed.
The CVC was of the view that Verma's conduct in the case was "suspicious," and there was a "prima facie case" against him. The CVC also felt that the "entire truth will come out if a criminal investigation is ordered."
In the IRCTC case, the CVC felt that it can be reasonably concluded that Verma allegedly "deliberately excluded" a name from the FIR, for reasons "best known to him," the sources said.
The CVC allegedly found evidence against Verma in several other cases as well, the sources said, including instances of wilful non-production and fabrication of record.
The Committee also took note of Verma's alleged attempts to induct officers of doubtful integrity in the CBI.
In response to the "insinuation" that he was not given a chance to be heard, the sources said that Verma was given an opportunity to present his case before the CVC in the presence of Retd. Justice Patnaik.
The Supreme Court also provided a copy of the CVC report to Verma's advocate, the sources claimed.
The Committee felt that as a detailed investigation, including criminal investigation, was necessary in some cases, Verma's continuation as CBI Director was not desirable, and he should be transferred, the sources mentioned.
The mandate of the Selection Panel is limited to the appointment and transfer of CBI chief.
Verma, who has been accused of corruption by his deputy Special Director Rakesh Asthana, resumed charge as CBI Director only yesterday.
The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, while ordering Verma's reinstatement on Tuesday, said the Central government should have referred the case to the Selection Committee if it wished to initiate the removal of the CBI director.
The judgement, which was read out by Justice Kaul as the Chief Justice was on leave, said the Selection Committee should be called within seven days from Tuesday to take a decision on the basis of the findings of the CVC inquiry into the corruption allegations against the CBI Director.
Asthana has accused Verma of accepting bribe from a Hyderabad-based businessman being investigated by the agency.
Verma has also accused Asthana of the same crime.
In the wake of their bitter fight, the government, in the midnight of October 23, 2018, had sent both Verma and Asthana on leave.
Verma had challenged the government's order in the Supreme Court which on Tuesday directed that he be reinstated as the CBI chief but barred him from taking any major policy decisions.
He was also asked by the top court to respond to the CVC inquiry on corruption allegations in a sealed envelope.
The apex court was hearing the plea of Verma and NGO Common Cause challenging the Central government's decision to send him on forced leave and divesting him of all responsibilities, calling the move an "extraordinary and unprecedented" situation.
During a hearing in December last year, the CVC, while confronting questions over the Centre's sudden decision of October 23, had told the apex court that "extraordinary situations sometimes need extraordinary remedies."
CJI Gogoi had raised questions over the timing of the order and asked why the government took immediate steps to divest Verma of his powers without consulting the Selection Committee. (ANI)