Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley

Decision taken to maintain integrity, credibility: Jaitley on CBI controversy

ANI | Updated: Oct 24, 2018 15:20 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct 24 (ANI): Justifying the Central Government's decision to send Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana on leave, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said that the move was taken to maintain the investigative agency's "institutional integrity and credibility."
Jaitley said that since both the senior officers of the investigative agency have accused each other, this move is a pre-condition and is essential for a fair investigation into the matter.
"CBI is a premier investigative agency. For maintenance of its institutional integrity, it is a pre-condition and absolutely essential for a fair investigation. Director has been accused by Special Director. A Special Director has been accused by CBI. Two top most officers of CBI have been accused. Now who will investigate it? Requirements of fairness and fair play have to be there. Government can't investigate it," Jaitley told media here.
"To maintain the institutional integrity of CBI and in the interest of fairness, purely as an interim measure, they will sit out by going on leave. An SIT not functioning under either of these officers will investigate. This is in accordance with highest standards of fairness. The CVCs recommendation and the government's action are intended to restore the institutional integrity and credibility of the CBI," he added.
Soon after the government's decision to send him on leave, Alok Verma moved the Supreme Court to challenge it. The apex court has accepted Verma's petition and the matter is likely be heard on October 26.
The Centre's move has been criticised by several Opposition parties. However, Jaitley termed their charge "rubbish".
"The fact that the three opposition parties are saying, that we know what the agency was going to do next, itself casts a serious doubt on the fairness process," Jaitley said.
M Nageshwar Rao was appointed as the interim Director of the CBI with immediate effect. Rao, a 1986 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Odisha cadre, was working as the Joint Director in the investigating agency.
He will now look after the duties and functions of Director, CBI, and will take over the duties and functions with immediate effect, read an order from the central government.
The Central Government's decision came a day after Asthana moved the Delhi High Court seeking the quashing of First Information Report (FIR) filed against him by the premier investigating agency of India. The court later ordered that no action would be taken against Asthana until next hearing, which is scheduled for October 29.
The CBI had filed an FIR against Asthana for allegedly accepting a bribe from a businessman, who was related to Moin Akhtar Qureshi case. Asthana was heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that was probing Qureshi's case. (ANI)