New Delhi :
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the version of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), which probed the allegations of bribery against exiled CBI chief Alok Verma. Special CBI director Rakesh Asthana has accused Verma of bribery and wrongdoings.
Following Asthana’s allegations, the Centre had scrapped the CBI chief of his powers and sent him on indefinite leave. Verma had challenged the government’s decision to divest his powers in the Supreme Court, which had given the CVC two weeks time to complete a preliminary inquiry against the CBI director. The deadline ended on Sunday.
While hearing Verma’s plea, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had also barred the interim CBI director Nageswara Rao from taking any major policy-related decisions. The apex court had also sought the list of decisions, including transfers of investigations, taken by Rao in a sealed cover.
CBI chief Alok Verma and his deputy, special director Rakesh Asthana has been at the loggerheads for a long time. However, the feud between the two most senior officers of the country’s premier probe agency escalated further after registration of an FIR against Asthana. Verma had also accused him of taking bribery from a Hyderabad businessman to settle a case.
Although, the ties between Verma and Asthana had never been easy while serving in the agency, but the rift 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 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.
Following Asthana’s accusations, Verma released him of important cases, including Delhi government cases and the IRCTC scam. On October 4, CBI produced Sana before a magistrate court. In the court, Sana claimed that he had paid Rs 3 crore to Asthana. After Sana’s testimony in the court, the CBI registered a corruption case against special director Asthana for allegedly taking a bribe.
Following the tussle between Verma and Asthana, the government had taken an unexpected decision to send the two warring officers on leave.