Four men belonging to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) were caught loitering outside the official residence of CBI director Alok Verma on Thursday. While Home Ministry officials said the four men were on "routine, covert" duties in the high-security area outside Verma's 2 Janpath residence, sources said they were taken away by the police for questioning and later let off. They were caught by Verma's personal security officers.
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. Verma knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court Wednesday, challenging the government's decision. The apex court agreed to hear his plea on Friday.
The IB is entrusted with the responsibility of collecting intelligence on situations that may affect public order and internal security. Among other things, its units are "routinely" deployed in "sensitive areas", a Home Ministry official said as quoted by news agency.
At times, this is done in association with local law enforcement agencies, and at other times, a surprise element is built in, he added. This also enables law enforcement agencies to respond immediately to developing situations. The officials carry their identity cards since they are on "routine duties", he explained.
"This is unlike surveillance, which is done without any visible appurtenances. One unit, in the early hours of today, halted at Janpath where there was an unusual collection of people," the official said.
This was with a view to check why people had collected at the location.
"This is a high-security zone where several protectees reside. Unfortunately, their presence was projected otherwise," another official said.
Though police sources said the men were being interrogated, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Madhur Verma denied that police had detained and questioned them.