Sacked CBI chief Alok Verma resigns, says natural justice was scuttled
Former CBI director Alok Verma, who was ousted from the agency by a high-powered selection committee on Thursday, has said that he was transferred on the basis of “false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations” made by only one person, who was inimical to him.
Alok Verma, the first CBI director to be removed by a PM-led panel, refused to take up his next assignment and resigned from service on Friday. Verma, who was not allowed to represent before the three-member committee, said “natural justice was scuttled and the entire process was turned upside down in ensuring that the undersigned is removed from the post of the Director”.
Verma complained that he had not been given an opportunity to present his side and the Central Vigilance Commission, or CVC’s probe had largely gone by the statement of a police officer being probed for corruption, a reference to Rakesh Asthana who was his deputy at the CBI.
“This is a moment for collective introspection, to state the least,” said Alok Verma, a1979-batch Indian Police Service officer.
Pointing to the decision of the committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remove him from CBI director’s post, Verma said the decision would “not just be a reflection on my functioning” but also “a testimony on how the CBI as an institution will be treated by any government”.
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He took a veiled swipe at the anti-corruption watchdog CVC as well, pointing that vigilance commissioners are “appointed by majority members of the ruling government”. On Thursday, the Congress had also demanded that the central vigilance commissioner should quit after the Supreme Court’s verdict this week setting aside the recommendation to move Verma out of the CBI.
Verma was last evening ordered to step down from the CBI chief’s post and spend the next 20 days as director general, fire services and civil defence. His term as the CBI director was to end on January 31.
Watch: Sacked CBI chief Alok Verma resigns, refuses transfer as fire service chief
The senior police officer said he had turned 60 in July 2017 and was to continue till this month-end under the special provisions for the CBI director. Since he was no longer the CBI chief and had crossed the retirement age for DG Fire Services, Civil Defence, the government should treat today as his date of retirement.
Verma had earlier, in a statement to PTI late on Thursday night said that the CBI, being a prime investigating agency dealing in corruption in high public places, is an institution whose independence should be preserved and protected.
Also Read | How the CBI feud between chief Alok Verma and deputy Rakesh Asthana unfolded
“It must function without external influences. I have tried to uphold the integrity of the institution while attempts were being made to destroy it. The same can be seen from the orders of the central government and the CVC dated October 23, 2018 which were without jurisdiction and were set aside,” he said.
Verma said it was “sad” that he was transferred to another post pursuant to the orders of the committee on the basis of “false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations made by only one person, who was inimical to him”.
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Special Director Rakesh Asthana, with whom Verma had a public feud, had given a complaint against him to the cabinet secretary in August which was referred to the Central Vigilance Commission. The report given by the commission carried most of the allegations which led to the ouster of Verma.
According to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who was the dissenting voice in the three member committee also comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Justice A K Sikri, there were 10 allegations.
Six were false, four needed further investigations, and four had circumstantial evidence and were “unflattering” to Verma, he said in his note to the committee.
Asthana was booked by the CBI on October 15, 2018 on the basis of a magisterial statement recorded by a businessman Sathish Babu Sana who had claimed that two businessmen brothers had sought bribe of ₹5 crore from him to get relief to him in a CBI case against him using their contacts with the special director.
Verma, a 1979-batch IPS officer, was transferred as Director General Fire Services after the high-powered selection committee decided to remove him from the post of the CBI director. “I have stood up for the integrity of the institution, and if asked will do it again in order to uphold the rule of law,” he said.