The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) finds itself at the centre of the row in the CBI between Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana, after it declined to share details of Asthana’s complaint with the investigation agency.
The Indian Express has learnt that questions were raised by CBI in an official letter to the CVC earlier this month as the CVC “declined to share the complaint or details” of the complaint made by Asthana “against CBI officers investigating his cases”. This letter came in response to letters by CVC seeking files from CBI on a complaint filed by Asthana against Verma and some other officers of the agency.
“In the interest of fairness and the legal sanctity of investigations, it is important that CVC shares with the bureau details about the complaint and reference in which cases are mentioned by Shri Rakesh Asthana,” stated the letter written by CBI’s Chief Vigilance Officer and Joint Director (Policy) on October 9, adding that the investigation agency “will have to device a method after seeking legal opinion to deal with those files that will withstand the highest level of probity”.
The letter stated that while the CVC had denied a copy of Asthana’s complaint to the agency on September 19, several media houses “have been liberally quoting from it to target officers investigating cases against the complainant”.
“Going by the media reports, Shri Rakesh Asthana has deliberately twisted facts,” the letter stated, “there was undue haste adopted in some of the investigations that are supervised by the Special Director (Asthana)” which is “part of a deliberate design” by him.
The CBI also said that although its files “are confidential and are not public documents,” it has “shared some of the files sought by the CVC and cooperated with the CVC”. It sought time from the CVC for “providing the remaining files since they need to be examined legally and if required, redacted in order to protect the integrity of the investigation”.
The complaint by Asthana was first reportedly made to the government which then referred the matter to the CVC. Asthana ha alleged that Verma had sought to impede his functioning, interfere in investigations and malign his reputation on the basis of unverified facts.
The CBI later issued a statement which said, “It is unfortunate that baseless and frivolous allegations are being made publicly without proper verification of facts to malign the image of the Director of CBI and intimidate the officials of the organisation.”