Alok Verma vs Rakesh Asthana: Know what fuelled the feud in CBI
In a stunning overnight move, the central government on Wednesday deprived Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Verma and his deputy, special director Rakesh Asthana of their powers and sent them on leave. Joint CBI director M Nageshwar Rao was appointed as the interim chief of the country’s premier probe agency.
The move came a day after the courtroom drama involving director Alok Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana. Senior officials pertaining to the matter said that the decision was taken on the recommendations of Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC), which has got complaints of corruption against Verma.
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Both Verma and Asthana have been accusing each other of corruption and bribery. However, the ties between the two senior most CBI officers have never been easy while serving in the agency.
Take a look at what fuelled the bitter feud between the warring top CBI officials:
- The rift between the CBI top two was first seen during the five-member CVC meeting in October 2017 when Verma opposed Asthana’s promotion as special director.
- Verma alleged Asthana’s role in the Sterling Biotech case. Despite Verma’s objection, the CVC, however, promoted Asthana. The Supreme Court also cleared his name.
- On July 12, Asthana was invited to a CVC meeting as CBI no.2 while Verma was abroad. On this, Verma wrote to the CVC and said he has not authorised Asthana to attend meetings on his behalf.
- On August 24, Asthana, in a letter to the CVC and cabinet secretary, alleged that Verma received Rs 2 crore in bribery from Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana to clear his name from the Moin Qureshi case.
- Recently, Asthana again wrote to the CVC and claimed that while he wanted to arrest Sana for questioning, Verma instructed him not to do so.
- Verma released Asthana from important probes, including Delhi government cases, IRCTC scam, probe against P Chidambaram and others, and handed them to additional director AK Sharma.
- On October 4, CBI produced Sana before a magistrate court. In the court, Sana claimed that he had paid Rs 3 crore to Asthana.
- On October 15, the CBI registered a case corruption case against special director Asthana for allegedly taking a bribe from Sana.
- On Tuesday (October 23), the Delhi High Court granted interim relief to Asthana from the arrest and directed the CBI to maintain status quo. The Court reserved the matter for Monday when Verma will have to respond to the corruption charges against him levelled by Asthana.
- In a stunning midnight decision on Tuesday, the Centre sent both Verma and Asthana on leave. The government cited CVC recommendations that the cases against Verma and Asthana can’t be probed fairly if the remained in the agency.
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First Published : 24 Oct 2018, 07:18:28 PM