Out, In & Out: PM-Led Panel Removes Alok Verma From CBI
Video editor: Sandeep Suman
Video producer: Anubhav Mishra
Alok Verma was removed unceremoniously on Thursday, 10 January, as the CBI director after a high-powered panel led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi found that he had not been functioning with integrity expected of him.
Verma, whose fixed tenure of two years was to end on 31 January, is the first chief in the 55-years of the CBI's history to face such action, officials told PTI.
He has been posted as Director General Fire Service, Civil Defence and Home Guards, under the Union Home Ministry.
The charge of the CBI has been given to Additional Director M Nageshwar Rao, a government order issued on Thursday evening said.
The panel which comprised Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice AK Sikri, appointed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as his nominee, had met here on Thursday evening after which a decision for Verma, a 1979-batch IPS officer, was taken.
Kharge has expressed his dissent to the decision which was taken by a majority of 2:1.
The Central Vigilance Commission claimed that it had found evidence of influencing of probe in the Moin Qureshi case and there were intercepts of RAW, an external snooping agency, that Rs 2 crore had changed hands.
The CVC was of the view that Verma’s conduct in the case was suspicious and there was a prima facie case against him, and wanted a criminal investigation to be conducted in the case.
In the IRCTC case, the CVC felt that it can be reasonably concluded that Verma deliberately excluded a name from the FIR, for reasons best known to him.
The committee also took note of Verma's attempts to induct officers of doubtful integrity in the CBI. The CVC said he had been given ample opportunity to present his case before the CVC, in presence of Justice (retd) Patnaik.
The officials said the panel, barring Kharge, felt that investigation, including criminal probe, was necessary, in some cases, and his continuation as CBI Director was not desirable, and he should be transferred.
The meeting continued for nearly two hours with Kharge strongly arguing for giving a chance to Verma to present his case before the committee on the allegations levelled by the CVC against him. However, the prime minister and Justice Sikri did not agree with his position making clear his ouster from the agency.
Reacting to the development, Congress MP in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma said,
“Clearly, the prime minister is desperate to appoint a blind CBI Director. He is definitely buying future security. So the institutional subversion is complete. Prime minister wants compromised investigating agencies which can do his bidding for targeted vendetta against political opponents and at the same time protect him and his government so that there is no accountability ever fixed.”
Verma was sent on forced leave by the government in a late-night controversial order on 23 October 2018 in the wake of a feud between him and his deputy Special Director Rakesh Asthana which had intensified after Asthana was booked on corruption charges by the CBI on 15 October 2018.
He had challenged the order in the Supreme Court which had quashed the government order on Tuesday and reinstated him with a condition that the high-powered selection committee will decide his fate in a week.
Verma had joined the office on Wednesday after 77 days of forced leave set aside by the Supreme Court.
The apex court had said, any further decision against Verma, who was scheduled to retire on 31 January, would be taken by the high-powered committee which selects and appoints the CBI director.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI.)