Cleaning up CBI - End of a feud; back to work

25 October, 2018, 20:56 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Odisha cadre IPS officer M Nageshwar Rao takes charge as interim CBI chief

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has written a letter to the Prime Minister stating that the CBI director can not be touched until the selection committee is taken in confidence. After Asthana had challenged the same in Delhi High Court yesterday, a few hours later, a decision was taken by the Central government to send Verma on leave. The CVC, which is headed by KV Chowdary, has superintendence over the CBI in cases of corruption.

The unprecedented clean-up operation in the CBI, which involved removing not just the top rung but several other investigating officers was a decisive step taken by the government. The impugned orders were passed on the night following the day when Asthana approached the Delhi HC against the FIR and obtained interim protection from arrest until October 29.

Bassi, who was the investigating officer of the Asthana case, was transferred to Port Blair "in public interest", a CBI statement read.

Verma also contended that the Centre and the CVC's move was "patently illegal" and such interference "erodes" the independence and autonomy of the CBI.

Bhushan also alleged that Verma had launched a discreet inquiry against Rao when the latter was posted as CBI joint director, Chennai Zone, and ordered the transfer of important cases from the office to the agency's banking and securities fraud cell of Bengaluru.

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Meanwhile, the fight within the agency has triggered a big political fight in India with opposition parties hitting out at the Centre.

Verma knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court Wednesday, challenging the government's decision.

Now, according to the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, the CBI director can be appointed or suspended exclusively by a panel consisting of the prime minister, the CJI and the leader of Opposition.

Asthana was also probing the INX Media case, allegedly involving former Union minister P. Chidambaram, as well as the IRCTC tender issuance case involving former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. The top court has scheduled the hearing of his plea for Friday.

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