Four 'suspicious' men, who identified themselves as Intelligence Bureau officers, were found loitering outside Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Verma's Janpath Road residence on Thursday morning. They were caught by Verma's personal security officers. According to the Delhi Police, the four were arrested and were being questioned.
The men, Prashant Kumar, Vinit Kumar Gupta, Ajay Kumar and Dhiraj Kumar Singh, identified themselves as officers of the Intelligence Bureau. They have submitted their identity proofs and CGHS and Aadhaar cards. “Identify proofs being carried by the suspects have so far suggested that they are IB officers. We are verifying the authenticity of the documents,” the Hindustan Times quoted an officer as saying on condition of anonymity. The four dressed in plain clothes had come in two private cars and were seen loitering near the front and back gates for a very long time, the officer said.
In an unprecedented move by the Central government, Verma and CBI's Special Director Rakesh Asthana were sent on leave till further notice and their offices were sealed on Wednesday. Joint Director M Nageshwar Rao, a 1986 batch officer, took charge as the interim chief of the investigating agency with immediate effect. He will "look after duties and functions of director CBI and shall take over the duties and functions with immediate effect," said a government order put out on Tuesday night.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear on October 26 the petition by Verma challenging the government's decision. Advocate Gopal Shankarnarayana, who filed the petition on Verma's behalf, sought for an urgent hearing from the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.
Verma had on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the agency is expected to function completely independently and autonomously, and there are bound to be occasions when certain investigations into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the government.
Verma, in his petition, said the CBI should be kept independent of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which has jurisdiction over the probe agency, since it seriously limits the CBI's independent functioning.