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CBI power shift: As it happened

Timeline: The journey of Rakesh Asthana and Alok Verma — one who climbed the ranks unnoticed, the other flamboyant and high-profile — until their paths crossed at the CBI.

By: Express News Service | Published: October 28, 2018 2:43:15 am
CBI power shift: As it happened Asthana and Verma (Illustration: Suvajit Dey)

With the country’s premier investigation agency witnessing an unprecedented battle between Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana, The Sunday Express charts the journey of the two officers — one who climbed the ranks unnoticed, the other flamboyant and high-profile — until their paths crossed at the CBI.

Nov 30, 2016: Then Special Director of CBI, R K Dutta, is transferred to Home Ministry 2 days before agency chief Anil Sinha was to retire

Dec 2: Then Additional Director Rakesh Asthana (Gujarat cadre) is appointed interim director

Dec 5: Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan files a petition in Supreme Court challenging Asthana’s appointment

Dec 17: Supreme Court tells government to follow its directions on the criteria for selection of CBI director

Feb 1, 2017: Government appoints then Delhi CP Alok Verma as director

Oct 21: Verma hands over a confidential note to CVC during its panel meeting over promotion of Asthana to the post of special director. The note said that Asthana was paid Rs 3.88 crore by Sterling Biotech

Oct 22: CVC panel unanimously clears Asthana’s promotion

March 19, 2018: A week after Supreme Court set a deadline of six months to finish the probe into the Aircel-Maxis case, journalist Upendra Rai files a petition in the apex court alleging amassing of disproportionate wealth by Enforcement Directorate Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh. The petition is rejected

May 3: Rai is arrested by CBI for allegedly obtaining an unauthorised airport entry pass for extorting money from businessmen by promising them to settle income tax cases. Name of IPS officer Jyoti Narayan, posted with Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, comes up

June 5: Another journalist Rajneesh Kapoor files a petition similar to Rai’s in the apex court

June 27: Supreme Court removes Rajeshwar Singh’s blanket protection against investigation after government submits an R&AW report stating that he was in touch with an ISI agent.

June 27: ED Director Karnal Singh comes out in support of his subordinate officer and issues a press release saying that his officer is clean and that the call was received as the alleged “ISI agent” provided information on a case of bank frauds

June 27: Rajeshwar Singh’s scathing attack on Revenue Secretary Hansmukh Adhia accusing the latter of “siding with scamsters” is leaked on social media. Finance Ministry issues a chargesheet against Singh

July 12: CBI Director Alok Verma writes to CVC through A K Sharma, additional director (policy), that Asthana does not have the mandate to represent the Director in a meeting over induction of certain officers into the CBI and extension of tenure of some officers. The letter also says Asthana is himself “under (the) scanner” in several cases

Aug 24: Asthana lodges a complaint with Cabinet Secretary that Verma was interfering in cases which he was investigating, and that he had tried to stop a raid on Lalu Prasad Yadav in the IRCTC case. The complaint is forwarded to CVC, which starts a probe

Oct 15: CBI registers an FIR against Asthana alleging that he received a bribe of Rs 2 crore to settle a case against Hyderabad businessman Satish Sana. Arrests middleman Manoj Prasad

Oct 23: CVC issues orders divesting Verma of all duties

Oct 24: Verma challenges CVC order in Supreme Court

Oct 26: Supreme Court gives two weeks to CVC to complete its probe against Verma

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