After the government stepped in and sent the CBI’s warring No 1 and No 2 — Director Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana — on leave in a late Tuesday night order, Verma approached the Supreme Court on Wednesday challenging his removal. The case will come up for hearing on Friday. Verma has been replaced by M Nageshwar Rao, a 1986-batch Odisha cadre officer, and Joint Director at CBI will proceed to take over as the chief, according to an order by the Prime Minister-led Appointments Committee.
Early morning reports said raids were being conducted at the CBI Headquarters in New Delhi and the office was sealed and outsiders were not allowed inside. The 10th and 11th floor of the CBI building were being searched. The offices of both Verma and Asthana have also been sealed. However, PTI reported that the building has now been opened,
In another development surrounding the unprecedented strife within the country’s top investigating agency, CBI Dy SP Ajay Kumar Bassi, who was leading the investigating against Asthana, has been transferred to Andaman and Nicobar Islands with immediate effect. Asthana has been booked by the agency in an alleged bribery case.
Explained: What is the CBI vs CBI war?
Rakesh Asthana was also stripped of all his responsibilities at the agency yesterday. Asthana, a 1984 batch Indian Police Service officer of Gujarat cadre, is alleged to have demanded a bribe of Rs 5 crore from a Hyderabad-based businessman through two middlemen to help him get off the hook in the Moin Qureshi case.
Verma also alleged corruption on Asthana’s part with regard to the Sterling Biotech case. Asthana hit back by writing to the Cabinet Secretary saying that Verma was interfering in his probes and had tried to stall a raid on Lalu Prasad in the IRCTC case. He also alleged corruption on Verma’s part.
Asthana Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court for quashing of an FIR lodged against him by Verma. The court inturn directed the CBI to maintain “status quo” until Monday on proceedings. The agency had also arrested its own Deputy Superintendent of Police Devendra Kumar for “faslification of records” in connection with the bribery allegations against Asthana.
#NageshwarRao is an IPS officer from Odisha cadre, joined CBI as joint director, promoted to additional director this year. A chemistry post graduate from Osmania University, did his research in Madras IIT, before joining the IPS in 1986. #CBIvCBI @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/GO4amkNGSG
— rahul tripathi (@rahultripathi) October 24, 2018
Alok Verma joined the IPS in 1979 at age 22 and was allotted to the AGMUT (Arunachal, Goa, Mizoram, UTs) cadre. He was the youngest officer in his batch. Prior to assuming the office of CBI Director, Verma had been Commissioner of Police, Delhi; Director General of Prisons, Delhi; Director General of Police, Mizoram; DGP, Puducherry and IGP, Andaman & Nicobar Islands. He was also the only one to hold the top post at CBI without any prior experience in the agency. He was appointed as CBI Director for two years and his tenure ends in December.