Alok Verma’s guards detain four IB men over spying suspicion
The four, two of whom were sitting in a car parked near the residence, were picked up at 8.15 am. At least two of them were dragged inside Verma’s official residence.Updated: Oct 26, 2018, 09:29 IST
Guards at Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Alok Kumar Verma’s residence on Thursday caught and dragged four men over snooping suspicion. The four later turned out to be intelligence bureau (IB) personnel. IB officials insisted they were not spying on Verma and had stopped outside the residence to check an unusual gathering of people while on routine duty in the area, where many top officials reside.
The government had on Tuesday divested Verma and his deputy, Rakesh Asthana, of their responsibilities over the corruption charges the two have levelled against each other. The CBI on Thursday clarified the two were still the agency’s director and special director despite being stripped of their duties.
The four, two of whom were sitting in a car parked near the residence, were picked up at 8.15 am. At least two of them were dragged inside Verma’s official residence. “Inside the CBI chief’s residence, the IB men were asked about their identity and we suspect some video was also made wherein they claimed they were from the domestic intelligence agency. It was very clumsy on part of these IB men to park themselves outside the CBI chief’s residence but it is also strange the way Verma’s guards dragged them,’’ said an IB official on condition of anonymity.
The official said the guards should have called the police to have their credentials checked if they had any suspicion. “Suppose these men were not from the IB and belonged to a terrorist outfit and had explosives on them… And Verma’s guards took them inside the residence jeopardizing the CBI chief’s security.”
Another IB official said they collect information on situations involving public order and internal security. The official added IB units are deployed on regular basis in sensitive areas. “Since such officials are on routine duties, they carry their identity cards. This is unlike surveillance, which is done covertly without any visible appurtenances.”
The second official said one such unit halted outside Verma’s residence after seeing an unusual collection of people. “This was with a view to check the reason why they had collected. This is a high-security zone, where several protectees reside. Unfortunately, their presence was projected otherwise.”
Verma did not reply to a message seeking his comment on the incident.
The Delhi police said Verma’s personal security officer (PSO), constable Bhanu, called the police control room to inform them about a “quarrel” between the guards and the four at 8.15 am. “A team from the Tughlaq Road police station was sent but nobody was seen at the spot. Through local inquiry, the police personnel learnt that the PSOs had taken the four inside (the residence),’’ said Delhi police spokesperson Madhur Verma.
Police said the men claimed to be from the IB and had furnished their identity cards and other relevant documents. They said the police team helped Verma’s security staff in verifying the claims and later took the four to an undisclosed location for a further inquiry after establishing they were from the IB. “They were allowed to go around 11.30 am after completing formalities to hand over their belongings and keys of their vehicles,” said Verma. He added no case was registered since no complaint was received from either side.
A police officer said Verma’s guards had spotted two cars and the four occupants wandering in the area since 6 am. The guards alerted Verma’s PSOs suspecting them to be “spies”. The PSOs then questioned them about their “suspicious activities”. “An argument broke out between them when the two men refused to reveal their identities and the purpose of their presence. The PSOs then pulled them out of their vehicle and dragged them inside. The occupants of the other car were also taken inside,” said the officer on condition of anonymity.