CBI chief Alok Verma orders more transfers on Day 2 after reinstatement
On his first day back at work on Wednesday, after being reinstated following a Supreme Court order, Alok Verma wasted no time and scrapped all but one of the transfer orders issued by interim director M Nageswara Rao.Updated: Jan 10, 2019 18:08 IST
CBI director Alok Verma carried out a second round of transfers in the investigating agency on Thursday, this one involving six officials. But the CBI director has decided against handing back the probe against his deputy Rakesh Asthana back to officials such as AK Sharma and Manish Kumar Sinha who were seen to be close to Alok Verma.
Officials said Verma had decided to continue with the team constituted to supervise the probe into a corruption case against Asthana.
The officers covered by the fresh transfer orders are joint directors Ajay Bhatnagar and Murugesan, Deputy Inspectors General MK Sinha and Tarun Gauba and additional director AK Sharma. The status of Dy SP AK Bassi and Additional SP SS Gurm is not clear yet
News of the five transfer orders came hours after deputy superintendent of police Devender Sharma approached the Delhi High Court to challenge 12 transfers ordered by Verma.
Alok Verma had taken on the government after he was, past midnight on October 23, ordered him and his deputy Rakesh Asthana to go on leave. Instead, the government brought in M Nageshwar Rao as an acting director who sent out officials seen to have Verma’s trust. Many of them challenged their transfer orders in the Delhi High Court, which has reserved its verdict.
Alok Verma too moved the Supreme Court against the government stripping him of his charge. He was reinstated yesterday on the top court’s directive, nearly after 77 days of forced leave.
Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana had been engaged in an internecine battle that roiled the agency and almost split it down the middle. The government had cited this rivalry to defend its decision to send both officers on leave.
Verma’s two-year tenure ends three weeks later, on 31 January.
He has, however, been banned from taking major policy decisions by the Supreme Court till a committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – which also comprises a nominee of the Chief Justice of India and the Congress’s Mallikarjun Kharge – clears him of corruption allegations.
The Supreme Court, which had reviewed a probe report filed by the Central Vigilance Commission, had earlier said there were portions of the inquiry report that were not so complimentary to Alok Verma.
WATCH: Congress says CVC has “lost credibility” after the order on Alok Verma
It is in this context that the Congress sees the government’s decision to quickly convene a meeting of the PM-led committee. This committee, which is to decide Alok Verma’s fate, is holding its second meeting in two days.
Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma has demanded that the Central Vigilance Commissioner KV Chowdary quit, given how the court verdict had exposed the CVC’s bias. In a tweet, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had earlier linked what he described as the government’s “tearing hurry” to fire Alok Verma and wondered if it was linked to concerns that he would probe the Rafale deal.
First Published: Jan 10, 2019 17:36 IST