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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Interim CBI chief Nageswara Rao cancels transfer orders by Alok Verma

Alok Verma was sacked as the CBI chief on Thursday night by a selection committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He is the first CBI director to be removed by the committee before completing his two-year term.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2019 23:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Interim CBI director Nageswara Rao (pictured) on Friday cancelled all transfer decisions taken by Alok Verma during his two days in office after returning as the head of the probe agency.
Interim CBI director Nageswara Rao (pictured) on Friday cancelled all transfer decisions taken by Alok Verma during his two days in office after returning as the head of the probe agency. (PTI/File Photo)

The first few hours of Nageswara Rao’s second stint as the Central Bureau of Investigation’s interim director turned out to be similar to his first stint as acting chief — in terms of assignment and reassignment of work among officials and their transfers.

In his first day as interim director for second time, Rao first revoked all orders passed by ousted chief Alok Verma in his two-day second stint at the agency, and then ordered six more transfers of officials of the joint director rank.

The agency’s information officer Abhishek Dayal, an Indian Information Service (IIS) officer serving on deputation from the Press Information Bureau (PIB) for a period of three years was sent back to his parent cadre. Another IIS officer, Nitin Wakankar, from the PIB is to replace him.

HT has seen all the relevant orders.

In the last three days, over 30 officials have been assigned, reassigned or transferred. In the first round of transfers, Alok Verma, after being conditionally reinstated by the apex court which held his Oct 23 removal by the government illegal, first revoked all but two the 13 transfers that happened on October 24 last year, in the first stint of M Nageswara Rao as interim director.

On Thursday, Verma was again ousted by the selection panel , comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, SC judge AK Sikri, representing chief justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge. Nageswara Rao was again given interim charge of the agency for the second time at 9pm.

The CBI’s personnel wing on Friday issued an order saying all actions taken following the transfer orders issued by Verma, would be “null and void”.

Prominent among those reinstated in their pre-October 24 posting by Verma were the agency’s joint director AK Sharma holding charges of important policy division and anti-corruption (headquarters) zone which handles big ticket corruption cases.

Friday’s order ensures that Sharma will now look after only the charge of multi-disciplinary monitoring authority (MDMA) which is probing the conspiracy angle in the decades old Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The fresh order declared all the orders issued by Verma as “non est” and added: “…..Consequently all actions in pursuance thereof by all concerned are also hereby declared as null and void. In other words, status-quo ante as on Jan 8, 2019 stands restored.”

Verma’s orders resulted in changing the complexion of team of officials probing Rakesh Asthana but on January 10 CBI clarified that two supervisory officials — joint director V Murugesan and deputy inspector general Tarun Gauba will continue to monitor the probe in the Asthana case which was registered on October 15. On Friday, the Delhi high court refused to quash this FIR.

Late in the night, another order issued by the CBI’s personnel wing said GK Goswami, joint director of Lucknow zone, will now head the anti-corruption (headquarters)-1 zone that handles big ticket corruption cases.

First Published: Jan 11, 2019 14:43 IST

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