The Centre on Wednesday transferred a senior Central Bureau of Investigation officer looking into the alleged involvement of CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana in a bribery case to Port Blair. A number of other officers were also transferred “in public interest”, The Hindu reported.

Deputy Superintendent of Police AK Bassi has been posted to the Anti-Corruption Bureau in Port Blair in the Andaman Islands and asked to join his new post immediately in “public interest”, while Additional Superintendent of Police SS Gurm has been transferred to Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. The other officers who have been transferred are Deputy Inspectors General Manish Kumar Sinha, Tarun Gauba, Jasbir Singh, Anish Prasad, KR Chaurasia, Amit Kumar, and senior officers Ram Gopal, Satish Dagar, Arun Kumar Sharma, A Sai Manohar and V Murugesan. According to reports, Bassi is considered a close aide of the agency’s Director Alok Verma.

This comes a day after the Centre sent CBI Director Alok Verma and his second-in-command Asthana on leave, and appointed M Nageshwar Rao the interim director. Verma has moved the Supreme Court against the Centre’s decision and his plea will be heard on Friday.

Verma and Asthana are locked in a power tussle and both have accused each other of accepting bribes. Last week, the CBI named Asthana in a First Information Report in a bribery case. He was accused of accepting a Rs 2-crore bribe in order to hush up a case against one of the businessmen allegedly involved in the tax fraud case proceeding against meat exporter Moin Qureshi. Asthana has, in turn, written to the Central Vigilance Commission, arguing that it was actually Verma who asked for those bribes and tried to delay the investigation, and that he should be investigated for corruption.

On Tuesday, Asthana moved the Delhi High Court to get the case against him quashed. The court said no coercive action can be taken against him till October 29.

CBI Deputy Inspector General Tarun Gauba, Superintendent of Police Satish Dagar and Joint Director V Murugesan will investigate charges against Asthana, ANI reported.