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Saturday, Nov 23, 2019

CVC tells CBI’s Alok Verma to be ready for examination in corruption probe

The Central Vigilance Commission has formally told CBI director Alok Kumar Verma to prepare to be examined in connection with the complaint made by the agency’s special director Rakesh Asthana against him, a government official said.

india Updated: Nov 02, 2018 08:31 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
This is the first formal communication between Alok Verma and CVC after he was divested of his powers.
This is the first formal communication between Alok Verma and CVC after he was divested of his powers.(Ravi Choudhary/HT File Photo)
         

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has formally told Central Bureau of Investigation director Alok Kumar Verma to prepare to be examined in connection with the complaint made by the agency’s special director Rakesh Asthana against him, a government official familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity.

This is the first formal communication between Verma and CVC after he was divested of his powers. “Verma has been asked to gather all relevant documents needed for his defence. No date has been communicated to the director,” added the official.

Former vigilance commissioner R Sri Kumar says CVC holds the power of a civil court and can seek information in the form of an affidavit too if it wants. “Any summons from CVC has judicial sanctity.”

Verma didn’t respond to a phone call and message seeking comment. Central Vigilance Commissioner KV Chowdary too didn’t respond to a phone call and message.

On the intervening night of October 23 and 24, Verma and Asthana were both divested of their respective responsibilities as CBI director and special director. The two have been sparring for months.

On the same night, the government appointed the senior most joint director in the agency, M Nageswar Rao, as interim director of the agency.

On August 24, Asthana wrote to the cabinet secretary, alleging that Verma was interfering in several investigations and also levelled charges of misconduct against the director. The cabinet secretary forwarded the complaint to CVC which has superintendence over CBI in corruption cases. CBI had already, in July, informed CVC that Asthana was under scanner of the agency’s own investigators in at least half a dozen cases.

CVC issued three notices to CBI on September 11 with regard to Asthana’s complaint and sought investigation files from the agency in cases cited by him.

On October 15, CBI registered a bribery FIR against Asthana on the basis of a complaint from a Hyderabad-based businessman, Sana Satish Babu. The businessman was a suspect in a case probed by a team under Asthana; interestingly, this was the case where Asthana had alleged interference by Verma.