The Narendra Modi-led government on Thursday curtailed tenures of CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana and three other CBI officers with an immediate effect. Apart from Asthana, tenures of Joint Director Arun Kumar Sharma, Deputy Inspector General Manish Kumar Sinha and Superintendent of Police Jayant J NaiknavareÂ have also been curtailed by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.Â Â
According to reports, the CBI number two has been moved to aviation security.Â The development comes days after Alok Verma was shunted out of the post of CBI director and appointed Director General of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards.
Tenure of CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana and three other CBI officers curtailed by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, with immediate effect. pic.twitter.com/TXbhwQ9kVOâ€” ANI (@ANI) January 17, 2019
However, he had resigned a day after saying that it was a moment of â€˜collective introspection.â€™
"Also, it may be noted that the undersigned already superannuated as on January 31, 2017 and was only serving Government as Director, CBI till January 31, 2019, as the same was fixed tenure role. The undersigned is no longer Director, CBI and has already crossed the superannuation age for DG Fire Service, Civil Defence, and Home Guards. Accordingly, the undersigned may be deemed as superannuated with effect from today," Verma had said in his letter to Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training.
Earlier on Friday, the Delhi High Court Friday refused to quash the FIR lodged against him on bribery allegations and set a 10-week deadline to complete the investigation.
Asthana is likely to challenge the high court verdict before the Supreme Court.
Verma and Asthana were at loggerheads for several months and had levelled charges of corruption against each other. Both of them were divested of their charge and sent on leave on the night of October 23.
Verma was ousted as CBI Director by a 3-member high powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a 2-1 decision Thursday.
Know all about Alok Verma vs Rakesh Asthana feud
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. The rift between the CBI top two was first seen during the five-member CVC meeting in October 2017 when Verma opposed Asthanaâ€™s promotion as special director.
Verma alleged Asthanaâ€™s role in the Sterling Biotech case. Despite Vermaâ€™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. A week later, 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.