Barely two days after the Supreme Court reinstated him, Alok Verma was on Thursday removed as CBI Director by a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on charges of corruption.
Alok Verma, a 1979-batch IPS officer, had resumed duty on Wednesday, a day after the apex court paved his return with some riders and asked the three-member panel that selects the CBI chief to decide on his continuance in a week in the light of charges against him in the report of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). Verma’s two-year tenure as director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is due to end on January 31.
Verma has been posted as Director General Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards, under the Union Home Ministry. The charge of the CBI has been given to Additional Director M Nageshwar Rao, said a government order issued on Thursday evening.
So what did the CVC report say?
- There were eight charges against Verma in the CVC report presented before the Committee that also comprised Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice A K Sikri, appointed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as his nominee.
- The panel’s decision to remove Verma was based on a majority vote of 2:1 with Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge opposing it and Justice A K Sikri siding with the government.
- The CVC report spoke about the controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi’s case and claimed that CBI team looking into the case wanted to make Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana an accused in the case but Verma never gave clearance. The probe in this case was led by special director Rakesh Asthana, who along with Verma was sent on forced leave on October 23.
- The CVC report also contained intercepts from the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the external snooping agency, in which “money changing hands with number one in the CBI” is talked about.
- Incidentally, Sana is the complainant for a case registered against Asthana in which he has given graphical details about how he had paid bribe to his middlemen.
- He has also mentioned the name of Samanta Goel, the second-in-command at the RAW, of being involved in protecting the middleman, Manoj Prasad.
- The other case relates to a Preliminary Enquiry registered by the CBI about acquisition of land in Gurgaon. The CVC alleged that Verma’s name had figured in the case and at least Rs 36 crore had changed hands.
- The CVC, which has a supervisory role over the CBI, had also alleged that Verma tried to save an officer in the IRCTC case involving former Union Minister Lalu Prasad.
- The commission also alleged that Verma was trying to bring in tainted officials into the CBI. It claimed that efforts seeking cooperation from the CBI chief did not yield results as he continued to keep the files away from the CVC.
- The CVC report further states that some allegations require further detailed investigation, which will not be possible with Verma heading the CBI which is to conduct such investigations.
- According to CVC report there was wilful non-production of records by Alok Verma; also, there were instances of non-cooperation with the commission.
(Inputs from PTI)