Former Central Bureau of Investigation Director Alok Verma, who was removed as the agency’s chief on Thursday by a committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that he was transferred on the basis of false allegations made by just one person against him, PTI reported.
The government had first divested Verma of his duties in October, sending him on leave. A Supreme Court order had on January 8 reinstated Verma and had asked the committee to consider his case within a week. On Thursday, a committee comprising Modi, Supreme Court judge AK Sikri and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge sacked Verma, with Kharge’s dissenting vote.
Verma, in an interview to PTI on Thursday, said the CBI must be free from external influence. “I have tried to uphold the integrity of the institution while attempts were being made to destroy it,” he said. “The same can be seen from the orders of the central government and the Central Vigilance Commission dated October 23, 2018, [sending him on leave] which were without jurisdiction and were set aside.”
Verma claimed that his transfer to the post of director general, fire services, civil defence and home guards was done on the basis of “false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations” made against him by one person only. Verma, whose tenure as CBI director was to end on January 31, said he would uphold the integrity of the agency once again, if asked to do so.
Nageshwar Rao will head the CBI in the interim period, until a new director is appointed. Verma had on Wednesday revoked most of the transfer orders issued between October 24 and January 8 by Rao.
CVC report findings
The Central Vigilance Commission in its inquiry report had flagged corruption and dereliction of duty on Verma’s part, citing telephone interceptions by external spy agency Research and Analysis Wing. The report, which was considered by the selection committee, had levelled eight counts of charges against Verma.
The report claimed that the CBI team investigating the case of meat exporter Moin Qureshi wanted to make Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana an accused in the case but Verma had not given clearance. Qureshi is an accused in multiple graft cases.
The investigating agency has been mired in controversy since the Centre relieved both CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana of their duties after they traded charges of corruption and interference in several cases.
The tussle came to light on October 15 after the agency named Asthana in a First Information Report for allegedly accepting bribes from Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, who was being investigated in the Moin Qureshi corruption case. Qureshi is an accused in multiple graft cases. Asthana, in turn, accused Verma of trying to falsely implicate him and levelled corruption charges against him.