Amidst the ongoing ‘turf-war’ between the senior officials in the CBI, the Union government on Tuesday night has decided to send the current CBI director Alok Verma on leave and also appointed senior IPS officer M Nageshwar Rao, a joint director within the CBI to take over the duties and functions of CBI Director with immediate effect.
Rakesh Asthana, who has been involved in a fight with the CBI director Verma has also been asked to proceed on leave. M Nageshwar Rao will be taking charge of the CBI with immediate effect.
This decision comes soon after it was reported that Asthana and Verma had both been summoned by the Prime Minister.
“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved that during the period of the subsistence of the aforesaid interim measure, cited in reference above, Shri M Nageshwar Rao, IPS, presently working as Joint Director, CBI shall look after duties and functions of Director CBI and shall take over the duties and functions with immediate effect,” said the government notification.
Addition to the two senior officers Verma and Asthana, the government has also relieved few other CBI officers from their agency duties. Arun Sharma, joint director of policy and anti-corruption within the CBI, and Manish Sinha, a deputy inspector general-level officer has also been asked to step away from their responsibilities in the CBI.
Meanwhile, the CBI officials have conducted another raid at the CBI office in Delhi, early this morning. Reportedly, the 10th and 11th floor of the CBI building is being searched and the offices of both Verma and Asthana have also been sealed.
The government has ordered to transfer all cases being investigated by Rakesh Asthana to a joint director of the CBI and directed to put them on the fast track.
The Union government’s decision to change the top leadership of the CBI comes against the backdrop of an ugly feud between the CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana over the issue of an alleged bribery case involving Asthana.
The CBI had earlier filed an FIR against Rakesh Asthana, a 1984 batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre in a corruption case alleging him of accepting around Rs 3 crore as a bribe from one Satish Sana in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
On the other hand, Asthana had accused Alok Verma of “interfering” in his work and alleged that Verma had hatched a conspiracy to target him. Asthana also alleged that it was Verma who had accepted to the bribe from Satish Sana.
Alok Verma, a 1979 batch IPS officer from AGMUT (Arunachal, Goa, Mizoram, UTs) cadre has also accused Asthana of his involvement in corruption with regard to the Sterling Biotech case. Asthana responded 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.
However, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the CBI to maintain status quo in the ongoing case against Special Director Rakesh Asthana and granted him interim protection from arrest till Monday.