Modi Govt Affecting CBI's Independence, Ousted Director Alok Verma Tells Supreme Court

News18 creative by Mir Suhail

News18 creative by Mir Suhail

Rao then sent out letters to the officers part of both Verma's and Asthana's team on leave. "The CBI was going to start an inquiry and therefore the prime minister got scared and removed the CBI chief at 1 am in the night", he alleged.

To bring the perspective of the Central Vigilance Commission order recommending the divesting of powers of Verma and Asthana, Joint Director M Nageshwar Rao has been given the charge to look after the duties and functions of the Director as an interim arrangement, a CBI spokesperson said. The CVC, which is headed by KV Chowdary, has superintendence over the CBI in cases of corruption.

"The government post-midnight takes the decision and now puts the onus on the CVC". It alleged that Kumar, the IO in a case, was repeatedly calling him to the CBI office to harass and compel him to pay bribe of Rs 5 crore for giving him a clean chit.

Asthana challenged the same before Delhi High Court on October 23.

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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.

In a petition opposing his removal, Verma said the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP)-led government's actions "give serious credence to the requirement" that the CBI be given independence from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) which "seriously hinders" the agency's "independent functioning". More often than not, they become weapons in the hands of the ruling party to silence opposition leaders or coerce them into submission.

NGO Common Cause has moved the Supreme Court, alleging that the Narendra Modi government had attempted to subvert the CBI with its "brazen interference" in the row between the investigative agency's top two officers. Those named in the case are Bhaben Maitra, Abinash Kumar Sarkar, Subhashree Das, Jayaram Garada, Bipra Charana Maharana, Jisudan Khosla, Urdhab Khola and Sadananda Nayak and some "unknown officials".

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