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India
09 Jan 2019

CBI Director Alok Verma returns to work after being reinstated

CBI Director Alok Verma returns to office

A day after the Supreme Court reinstated Alok Verma as the CBI Director, the embattled Verma returned to work on Wednesday for the first time in three months.

However, Verma will not be able to take any major policy decision till such time a high-powered selection committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India decides his fate.

In context

CBI Director Alok Verma returns to office
Selection committee given a week to decide on Verma's fate

Details

Selection committee given a week to decide on Verma's fate

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court, while hearing a plea by Verma, had set aside a Central government order dated October 23 that had divested Verma of his powers.

The apex court's quashing of the government order came on the grounds that the aforementioned selection committee had not been consulted before Verma's removal was initiated.

The selection committee now has a week to decide Verma's fate.

First move

Verma's first move could be bringing back transferred officials

Sources familiar with the development told HT that one of Verma's first moves now would be to bring back officials who had been transferred under Interim Director M Nageswara Rao.

When Rao took the post on October 24, he had transferred 13 officials including deputy inspector general (DIG) MK Sinha and deputy superintendent of police (DSP) AK Bassi, both of whom were investigating corruption charges against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana.

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How the Center had justified Verma's removal earlier

Center

How the Center had justified Verma's removal earlier

Earlier, the Center had told the SC that it was forced to intervene and remove both Verma and Asthana as their internal feud was causing disrepute to the investigative agency.

Explaining the move, Attorney General KK Venugopal had said that the "main aim" of the government was to ensure that the CBI, a "premier institution", had the confidence of the public.

Verma and Asthana were 'fighting like cats', the Center said

"Government of India was watching with amazement as to what the top officers [Verma and Asthana] were doing, they were fighting like cats," the Attorney General had told the Supreme Court during one hearing.

Cracks

Cracks in the CBI command started to show from 2017

The cracks in the CBI command started to show in October 2017 when Director Alok Verma objected to the appointment of Asthana as second-in-command, alleging corruption on Asthana's part in connection to the Sterling Biotech case.

However, the CVC, which supervises the CBI's functioning, cleared Asthana's appointment.

In October 2018, the CBI leveled bribery charges against Asthana, while Asthana accused Verma of corruption.

What allegations Verma and Asthana have leveled at each other

Allegations

What allegations Verma and Asthana have leveled at each other

Verma had initially alleged that Asthana had been paid Rs. 3.88cr in connection with the Sterling Biotech case.

While filing charges against Asthana, the CBI then alleged that Rs. 3cr had been paid to the Special Director as bribes.

Asthana, on his part, complained to the Cabinet Secretary, listing over a dozen charges against Verma, including charges of bribery in the Moin Qureshi case.

Major developments

Major developments since the feud began

With the feud escalating, the Center, in an unprecedented move, removed Verma and Asthana from duty and sent them on leave on the night of October 23.

The following day, Verma challenged his removal at the Supreme Court, which sent notices to both the Central government and the CVC.

Another accused in the Asthana bribery case, CBI DSP Devender Kumar, was arrested.

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Most asked questions

When was Alok Verma sent on leave?

Why was Alok Verma sent on leave?

What is the feud between Asthana and Verma about?

Who was CBI's Interim Director during Verma's absence?

More questions

When was Alok Verma sent on leave?

Asked on 09-01-2019 by Rajesh Mehta

Answered by NewsBytes

Alok Verma was sent on leave by the Central government at around 2am on October 24.

Why was Alok Verma sent on leave?

Asked on 09-01-2019 by Ankita Dutta

Answered by NewsBytes

The Central government claims that Verma was sent on leave as the internal feud between himself and CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana was escalating and undermining the CBI's image in public.

What is the feud between Asthana and Verma about?

Asked on 09-01-2019 by Parakram Dutta

Answered by NewsBytes

Both Verma and Asthana have levelled charges of corruption against each other. The cracks started to show in October 2017 itself.

Who was CBI's Interim Director during Verma's absence?

Asked on 09-01-2019 by Rishika Mittal

Answered by NewsBytes

The government appointed M Nageshwar Rao as the CBI's Interim Director during Verma's absence.

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