Podcast | What Are the Biggest Developments in the CBI vs CBI Row?
Who accused NSA Ajit Doval of interfering in the probe against Rakesh Asthana and what else has happened?
The curious case of the CBI versus CBI was heard in the Supreme Court again on 20 November. And let’s just say that things got intense. What happened, who said what, and why?
The big story of the day is the latest in the bribery hearing against CBI director Alok Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana.
But before we jump into the biggest developments, 20 November saw quite a bit of DRAMA in the Supreme Court, with Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi accusing Verma's lawyers and the media of having no respect for the institution.
It all started in the morning over an article in The Wire which had what the judges claimed was CBI director Alok Verma’s replies to the Central Vigilance Commission’s report on bribery allegations against him.
Now, Verma’s reply was supposed to be made ONLY to the court, in a SEALED letter.
The situation reached a head, when Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi handed copies of The Wire’s story to Alok Verma’s lawyer Rohinton Nariman and asked how exactly did The Wire get Verma’s reply. The Chief Justice was doubly irked because on Monday, Verma’s counsel sought some more time in the same day, to file his reply.
After the court’s outrage over The Wire’s story, the website said in no uncertain terms that their article wasn’t based on Verma’s sealed reply to the CVC, but only his response to the CVC’s questions.
The ugly controversy had taken one more turn on Monday, 19 November, when the CBI’s joint director MK Sinha, who was investigating Rakesh Asthana, alleged that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had interfered in his investigation. Sinha had recently been transferred to Nagpur. He filed a petition against his transfer and said that Ajit Doval had attempted to stall the investigation against Rakesh Asthana. He also accused Minister of State for Coal and Mines, Haribai Chaudhary, of taking bribes from Satish Sana to interfere in an investigation.
Before we continue, let me give you a quick refresher on what’s happened so far.
In October, CBI Director Alok Verma accused CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana of accepting bribes to the tune of 3 crore rupees, apart from indulging in other corruption. The CBI also filed a complaint against Asthana, based on the testimony of one Satish Sana, alleging that he was compelled to pay nearly 3 crore rupees in bribes to Asthana. Now remember, Asthana is seen as one of the prime minister’s favourite men, primarily because he got several key postings during Modi’s tenure as chief minister of Gujarat.
Days after Asthana’s name was raked in to the controversy, Asthana accused Verma of ALSO accepting bribes of around 2-3 crore rupees. Asthana also alleged that Verma had been interfering in cases he was investigating and attempting to sideline his investigation. The two were forced to temporarily step down in October and Nageshwar Rao was appointed the interim CBI director.
So after all this, the Supreme Court’s bench has scheduled the case against Verma to be heard on 29 November. We’ll be tracking the case. Make sure you come back here to get the updates.
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