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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

CVC asks CBI to act against Alok Verma in corruption case

The government has thus far not accepted a resignation letter from Verma – leading to speculation that this is to facilitate action by the Department of Personnel and Trading.

india Updated: Jan 26, 2019 08:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Chief Alok Verma arrives at CBI headquarters on January 9.
Former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Chief Alok Verma arrives at CBI headquarters on January 9.(PTI Photo)
         

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) this month asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take “necessary action” against its ex-director Alok Verma in a case involving a bribe allegedly paid to him by Sana Satish Babu, and the Department of Personnel and Trading (DoPT) to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him — both based on a CVC report submitted to the Supreme Court in November, according to three officials in the federal investigation agency and DoPT who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to the officials, a complaint is likely to be filed against Verma over an allegation that middleman Sana Satish Babu paid a Rs 2 crore bribe to him in the Moin Qureshi case. DoPT will look into an incident involving the exclusion of the name of a key suspect Rakesh Saxena from a complaint registered by CBI in the Indian Railways Catering and Tourist Corp (IRCTC) case, allegedly at Verma’s behest.

The CVC report has highlighted both as instances of serious misconduct. It has also left it to DoPT to initiate major or minor penalty proceedings against Verma in all the other cases where the report substantiates or partially substantiates allegations made by CBI’s then special director Rakesh Asthana. “The file is being processed for departmental proceedings,” said one of the three officials, who works for DoPT.

The government has thus far not accepted a resignation letter from Verma – leading to speculation that this is to facilitate action by DoPT.

Opinion | Alok Verma has rekindled our sense of dharma

Verma did not respond to calls or messages from HT on the issue on Friday.

Verma was first divested of his powers by the government on October 23. He and his deputy Asthana were at the time engaged in an internecine war that split the agency down the middle. Asthana too was divested of his powers. In August, Athana wrote to the cabinet secretary, levelling allegations of corruption against Verma. The cabinet secretary forwarded this to CVC. On October 15, CBI registered a complaint against Asthana.

Soon after he was divested of his powers, Verma filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking his reinstatement. The court asked CVC to finish the enquiry against him and submit a report, but also subsequently said that it would only rule on the mechanism of his effective removal from CBI. The agency’s chief is appointed by a panel comprising the Prime Minister, the leader of the Opposition, and the Chief Justice of India.

On January 8, the court conditionally reinstated Verma and asked this panel to review the CVC report against him and take a call on his future. On January 10, by a 2-1 majority, the panel removed him from CBI and transferred him as DG, fire services - a post Verma refused to take up citing the fact that he had reached the age of retirement while at CBI.

On January 17, the government terminated Asthana’s tenure at CBI and named him DG, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.

In its report on the charges being made against Verma, CVC said, with reference to the Sana Satish Babu case that in light of the substantial circumstantial evidence the entire truth could come out if a thorough criminal investigation is ordered by the court.

The CVC, through a letter sent earlier this month, has also asked DoPT to take disciplinary action against Verma for attempting to certain officers into CBI.

The CVC report also recommended action against Verma in his capacity as Delhi Police commissioner over allegations related to undue interference in CBI cases against enforcement directorate officials; smuggling of gold at IGI airport; and not taking vigilance action against the involved officer.

Also read | Alok Verma quits: Full text of IPS officer’s letter to the government

First Published: Jan 26, 2019 08:17 IST

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