The central government on Tuesday, 23 October, issued a notification saying CBI director Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana will be sent on temporary leave amid the bribery allegations against Asthana.
The order also stated that M Nageshwar Rao will be taking over as the interim CBI chief.
“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved that during the period of the subsistence of the aforesaid interim measure, cited in reference above, Shri M Nageshwar Rao, IPS, presently working as Joint Director, CBI shall look after duties and functions of Director CBI and shall take over the duties and functions with immediate effect,” the government notification stated.
Rao will also be personally supervising all sensitive cases, including those of Vijay Mallya’s extradition and AgustaWestland, reported ANI.
Who is M Nageshwar Rao?
Rao hails from the Warangal district in Telangana. He is a chemistry post graduate from Osmania University, Hyderabad, DNA reported.
He is a 1986-batch Odisha cadre officer. His first posting was as the SDPO of Talcher in Odisha’s Anugul district in 1989.
He has been linked to various controversies during his tenure as the superintendent of police of various districts in Odisha, including Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Bargarh and Jagatsinghpur. He also held the posts of the SP, Railways, in Rourkela, and SP of Crime Branch in Cuttack.
Rao's name came up in the controversial uniform scam in Odisha when he was serving as additional director general of fire service. The scam, dating back to 2014, pertained to misappropriation of funds worth Rs 3 crore while purchasing new yellow uniforms for fire service personnel, reported The Times of India.
According to DNA, he was serving as the additional director general of Odisha Police before he joined as the CBI joint director on 7 April, 2016, for a period of 5 years.
He was promoted to additional director this year, according to The Indian Express.
An article by savukkuonline.com, shared by senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Twitter, details Rao’s controversial handling of cases involving Hindustan Teleprinters Limited and State Bank of India.
MK Stalin Slams Nageshwar Rao’s Appointment
DMK President MK Stalin questioned Rao’s appointment as the interim director on Wednesday.
“Several complaints were sent to the CBI director against Nageshwar Rao and there are reports that CBI director Alok Verma wanted to initiate investigations into allegations against him... Nageshwar Rao met OPS at the state secretariat. When the CBI is investigating Gutkha scam and Madras High Court has ordered an investigation against EPS for awarding contract to his relatives, the move to send Alok Verma has raised suspicions.”MK Stalin
“This (the crisis in CBI) shows an undeclared emergency has been imposed in our country. The appointment of a controversial officer like Nageshwar Rao is nothing but to ensure that the CBI remains the caged parrot of the BJP government.”MK Stalin
(With inputs from DNA, The Indian Express and The Times of India.)