Published On: Thu, Jan 10th, 2019

Alok Verma shunted out as CBI director, Congress attacks government

New Delhi: A day after Alok Verma resumed duties as CBI Director, was on Thursday unceremoniously removed from the post after a 2-1 decision by the high-level Selection Committee, a decision that came under attack from the Congress on expected lines .

Verma, who was removed from the agency’s helm on the midnight of October 23

The decision of the committee came after CJI nominee Justice AK Sikri of the Supreme Court sided with the government that Verma should be shunted out of the post on the basis of the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), which went into some serious allegations levelled against him.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Justice Sikri and Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, the other member of the committee, who gave a dissent note and opposed the majority decision.

Shortly after the meeting, Verma was appointed Director General, Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guard till January 31 when his tenure would end.

The government also brought back M Nageswara Rao, Additional Director, CBI to look after the duties of the Director, CBI till the appointment of a new Director or until further orders, whichever is earlier, a notification by the Appointment Committee of Cabinet said.

Verma, who was removed from the agency’s helm on the midnight of October 23 after his fight with Special Director Rakesh Asthana became public, was reinstated on Tuesday by the apex court on the ground that the government cannot transfer or alter the duties of the CBI chief without going to the Selection Committee.

The committee’s members are the Prime Minister, leader of the largest opposition group and the Chief Justice of India. Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who heard the case arising out of Verma’s challenge against the government decision, nominated Justice Sikri as his nominee to attend the committee meeting.

The Supreme Court, while reinstating Verma, had said that the Committee should meet within a week and decide the issue afresh.

Modi convened the meeting of the committee on Wednesday but Kharge sought the CVC report on the allegations against Verma and also time to study it. The committee met briefly and decided to meet on Thursday.

Sources said the Committee took into account the “extremely serious” nature of observations made by the Central Vigilance Commission against Verma.

It was of the view that being the head of a very sensitive organisation, Verma was not functioning with the integrity expected of him, they said.

They said the CVC found evidence of influencing of investigation in the Moin Qureshi case. There was also evidence of taking of bribe of Rs. 2 crore. The CVC was of the view that his conduct in the case is suspicious, and there is a prima facie case against him.

“The CVC also felt that the entire truth will come out if a criminal investigation is ordered,” the sources said citing the Committee’s view.

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