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Home Fact-Check Leftist propaganda websites spread baseless claims about the transfer of ousted CBI Director Alok...

Leftist propaganda websites spread baseless claims about the transfer of ousted CBI Director Alok Verma

Alok Verma was transferred to a post with equal rank, hence there was no need to hear him

After Alok Verma was removed the post of CBI Director owing to serious allegations against him, by the high-level committee acting on the instructions of the Supreme Court, the left-liberal propagandists are working overtime to prove that the decision was wrong. The committee headed by prime minister Narendra Modi included Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice A K Sikri, senior judge of supreme court. Modi and Justice Sikri voted against Verma in the meeting of the committee yesterday, while Kharge favoured hearing Verma before taking any action against him. Now allegations are being made that the Supreme Court colluded with the government in removing Verma from his post and that this decision is wrong.

The primary arguments made against the decision is that Alok Verma should have been giving an opportunity to hear him before he was ‘punished’.

The Wire wrote that “the Committee violated the principles of natural justice as it did not give Verma a hearing before summarily transferring him”.

The Print also argued that Justice Sikri should have sided with Kharge on the basis of the Principle of Natural Justice, which means that no person should be condemned or punished without being heard.

On the other hand, Scroll.in tried to blame the government for removal of Verma from his post, conveniently ignoring that the decision of a senior Supreme Court judge was vital in the matter, as views of the other two members, Modi and Kharge, were already known.

These left-wing propaganda sites repeat the same allegations that have been made against CBI special director Rakesh Asthana before and tries to project that Verma was ‘punished’ because he was investigating serious corruption cases against the government.

The assertion that principle of natural justice has been violated before removing Alok Verma from his post as CBI director is completely wrong. Because the principle arises only if a person is being punished. But in this case, the government has not punished Verma, he is merely being transferred from one post to another, and his rank and perks remain the same. He has not been suspended, not been demoted, just transferred a routine process that every government officer goes through. There is no precedence of hearing someone before he/she is transferred.

Even if Verma was suspended, it could have been done without hearing him. When allegations of corruption are made against public officials, they are suspended first and after that allowed to present their case during the inquiry, the suspension does not violate natural justice. Suspending officers pending enquiry against them is common, as that is needed to ensure a fair probe.

Although Verma’s transfer is seen as a punishment, in legal terms it is just a plain transfer. The same selection committee that appointed him decided to transfer him, so there is no question of violation of law in the decision. The Supreme Court had said on January 8 that the government cannot transfer the CBI director, only the selection committee can do that. And now, exactly what has been done.

Not just media, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had also said that the Committee should have allowed Verma to present his case, and Alok Verma also said the same while resigning today, refusing to take charge of a new post for the remaining 20 days of his term. But the Committee, including Justice Sikri, didn’t think it was necessary to hear him. Because, the decision was made based on the CVC enquiry report on him, and Verma had already presented his case against the report.

A copy of the CVC report was given to Alok Verma, and he had submitted his response to the same in the Supreme Court in November 2018. His response was published by The Wire before it was submitted at the court, which had irked CJI Ranjan Gogoi. It is important to be noted that commenting on the CVC report, the Supreme Court had said that on some charges, the report is very complimentary, on some, not so complimentary, on some, it is not at all complimentary, and on others, further investigation is required. Which means there were some serious allegations against the former CBI director in the report, while some portions of the report were favourable for him.

Alok Verma’s response to the CVC report was part of the documents the high-level committee had with it while deciding the matter, hence a separate hearing was not needed.

Now coming to the allegations against Rakesh Asthana, the fact is that activist Prashant Bhushan had filed three petitions against his appointment as CBI special director, and all three of them have been dismissed by the Supreme Court. The court found no merit in allegations against him.

It is alleged that there are serious charges against Asthana, but Alok Verma’s charges against Asthana are based on flimsy grounds. The FIR against Asthana said that Hyderabad based businessman Satish Sana had paid a bribe to Rakesh Asthana through a middleman. Sana has said he has never met Asthana, not even talked to him on phone. He says he saw Asthana’s photo as WhatsApp display picture of a contact in the phone a middleman, and he was convinced that the middleman was Asthana’s man based on that picture alone. Verma’s camp has included some Whatsapp messages and call records as proof against Asthana, and none of them links him with the alleged bribe payer. Allegations against Asthana was made 2 months after he had alleged that Alok Verma had taken a bribe of ₹2 crore to protect Moin Qureshi, against whom Asthana was investigating.

Moreover, unlike how the opposition parties and activists tried everything to protect Verma, the CBI’s case against its special director is going on without any interference. Rakesh Asthana was sent on forced leave along with Alok Verma on the same day, which means the government had acted in the most neutral way. The government has not made any attempt to protect him, as the leftist media is trying to portray. Today the Delhi High Court refused to quash the FIR against him and ordered CBI to complete the probe within 10 weeks. While entire left-liberal establishment and opposition parties were batting for Verma, Asthana did not receive any such support. Asthana still remains on forced leave, while Verma was reinstated and transferred to a different post with the same rank, so the allegation that government is being partial towards Asthana is completely baseless.

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Raju Das
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