Just two days after being reinstated by the Supreme Court, Alok Verma has been removed as the CBI director after a marathon meeting of Selection Committee. The high-power committee meet took place at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence. Verma, a 1979-batch AGMUT-cadre IPS officer, has been removed from the high-profile post on the charges of corruption and dereliction of duty, making him the first chief in the history of the agency to face such action, officials said.
Additional Director M Nageshwar Rao has been given interim charge of CBI chief till the appointment of a new director. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has subsequently posted Alok Verma as DG, Fire Services, Civil Defence, and Home Guards.
Sources: The panel took into account the extremely serious nature of observations made by the CVC against Alok Verma. The panel was of the view, that being the head of a very sensitive organisation, Verma was not functioning with the integrity expected of him. https://t.co/cfPFKWoSkC— ANI (@ANI) January 10, 2019
The CVC's enquiry report spoke about the controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi's case and claimed that CBI team looking into the case wanted to make Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana an accused in the case but Verma never gave clearance.
The probe in this case was led by Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who along with Verma was sent on forced leave on October 23.
The CVC report also contained intercepts from the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the external snooping agency, in which "money changing hands with number one in the CBI" is talked about, the officials said. Incidentally, Sana is the complainant for a case registered against Asthana in which he has given graphical details about how he had paid bribe to his middlemen.
Just an hour before being shunted out, the CBI chief had transferred five officers. The officers who have been transferred are - Joint Director Ajay Bhatnagar, DIG MK Sinha, DIG Tarun Gauba, Joint Director Murugesan, and Additional Director AK Sharma.
Meanwhile, the Congress took a dig at the prime minister and said the party is not surprised at all with the decision. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge was also one of the members of the high-power committee. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Justice AK Sikri were other two members of the committee. Justice Sikri was appointed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as his nominee. According to reports, Kharge opposed the sacking of Alok Verma during the meet.
By removing #AlokVerma from his position without giving him the chance to present his case, PM Modi has shown once again that he's too afraid of an investigation, either by an independent CBI director or by Parliament via JPC.— Congress (@INCIndia) January 10, 2019
Congress leader Anand Sharma demanded an investigation into the manner Alok Verma was removed abruptly at midnight. "What is PM Modi worried about? What does he not want the CBI to look into? The manner in which the CBI Chief was removed abruptly at midnight should be investigated," Sharma said.
What is PM Modi worried about? What does he not want the CBI to look into? The manner in which the CBI Chief was removed abruptly at midnight should be investigated: @AnandSharmaINChttps://t.co/SBB2E1Oyhd— Congress (@INCIndia) January 10, 2019
The committee, however, sacked the CBI chief with a 2-1 decision. Verma, a 1979-batch AGMUT cadre IPS officer, has been removed from the high-profile post on the charges of corruption and dereliction of duty making him the first chief in the history of the agency to face such action, the officials said. He is likely to be moved to the National Human Rights Commission, they said.
Earlier, Verma on Wednesday revoked most of the transfers orders given by Nageshwar Rao. Rao, a 1986-batch Odisha cadre IPS officer, was appointed Interim Director of the CBI on October 24. Verma joined office after the Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside his forced leave but restrained him from taking any major policy decision till the CVC probe into corruption charges against him is over. Verma was sent on forced leave by the government in a late-night controversial order on intervening night of October 23 and October 24 last year in the wake of a feud between him and his deputy Special Director Rakesh Asthana.
Meanwhile, CBI Deputy SP Devender Kumar has moved the Delhi High Court against Verm's decision to revoke transfer orders of various officers given by Interim Director M Nageshwar Rao. His plea is likely to be listed for hearing tomorrow before Justice Najmi Waziri.