Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Congress Party in the Lok Sabha, on Tuesday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to come clean on the removal of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Verma from the post over corruption charges. He asked the prime minister to make the minutes of the January 10 meeting and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report by Justice (retired) AK Patnaik public. He was a member of the high-powered committee that removed Verma as the director of the investigative agency. On January 10, a high-powered Select Committee, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, decided that Verma should be removed as CBI director and be given charge of fire service.
The Congress leader also wrote that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should call a fresh meeting of the Selection Committee at the earliest to select the new director of the central investigative agency. On January 10, the Selection Committee comprising the prime minister, Justice AK Sikri and Congress leader Malikarjun Kharge, decided on Verma’s removal with a 2:1 majority. The Selection Committee generally PM, Chief Justice of India (or his nominee) and the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha (or leader of the single largest party). In this case, Justice Sikri was the nominee of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
Mallikarjun Kharge was the only person in the three-member Selection Committee to have submitted a dissent note over the action against Verma. He had also said that most of the charges levelled against Verma by the Central Vigilance Commission had not been substantiated.
On October 23 last year, Verma and Special Director of the CBI, Rakesh Asthana were divested of all powers by the Centre amid a public feud between the two over alleged corruption. CBI additional director M Nageshwar Rao was made the interim chief. However, on January 8 this year, the Supreme Court had reinstated Verma to the top post of the CBI and removed Rao from the post. However, the Centre brought back Rao as interim chief following the decision was taken by the Selection Panel to remove Verma as CBI chief.