The panel led by PM Modi removed CBI Director Alok Verma in light of the Central Vigilance Commission’s report and “the extremely serious nature of observations made by the CVC against Verma”. The CVC in its report suggested a criminal probe against expelled CBI director Alok Verma. It termed Verma’s conduct suspicious in the controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi’s case. The CVC claimed that it had found evidence of influencing of investigation in the Moin Qureshi case and also claimed that ousted CBI director took bribes from an aide of Qureshi.
Moin Quershi is a controversial character, to say the least. He first came on the radar of CBI, Income Tax department, and ED in 2011 when the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence caught Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan with Rs 56 Lakh in cash at the Delhi Airport. The singer claimed that the money was given to him as fee for his performance at the wedding of Moin Qureshi’s daughter in Delhi. The CBI took more than three years to register a case against him. As the corruption progressed, internal fault lines and corruption in the CBI was exposed. The names of former CBI directors- AP Singh and Ranjit Sinha- surfaced during the investigation. Now, the names of Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana have also cropped up during the probe. In fact, Quershi is one of the reasons behind the tussle between Verma and Asthana.
During the UPA era, Quershi exploited the CBI, its bosses appointed by the UPA and the bureaucracy to serve his interests. The transcripts accessed by India Today of conversations from Qureshi’s BlackBerry Messenger shows the extent to which Qureshi knew the ins and outs of CBI and the bureaucracy. The transcripts give impression that he also acted as middleman. Multiple mentions of three initials were found, ‘AP’, ‘K’, ‘K. Nath’, ‘Shinde’. It would appear Qureshi was well connected with the politico-bureaucratic class of the UPA era.
The ED cautioned the CBI in August 31, 2016. Based on call records it said, “Moin Akhtar Qureshi has taken huge amount of money from different persons for obtaining undue favours from said public servants or politicians holding high public office during the relevant point of time.”
The ED’s investigation also revealed that Satish Sana have paid more than Rs 1 crore to Moin in order to get bail for his friend- Sukesh Gupta- in a CBI case through the then CBI director Ranjit Sinha. According to Sana’s statement: “I should not worry. The things will be sorted out. Boss (Sinha) had assured that Sukesh will get bail as boss (Sinha) had directed his men (CBI officials) not to oppose the bail.” Incidentally, Ranjit Sinha’s name also surfaced in coal scam, he was even booked by the CBI.
Later on, in a letter to CVC, the deputy of Alok Verma- Rakesh Asthana- alleged that as director of the CBI, Verma took Rs 2 crore bribe from Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Sana to save him in the Moin Qureshi case. Times of India quoted its source saying, “There was also evidence of taking bribe of Rs 2 crore. CVC was of the view that his conduct in the case is suspicious, and there is a prima facie case against him. The CVC also felt that the entire truth will come out if a criminal investigation is ordered.”
Asthana also alleged that he was removed from looking into INX Media case in which CBI has filed charges against the former Union Minister P.Chidambaram and his son Karti and others.
It is very clear that the wide-net Qureshi cast included some very prominent UPA era leaders and officials investigation against whom was thwarted by Alok Verma. Now that he is removed from the post, the ‘K Naths’ and ‘Shindes’ have a reason to worry and precisely this is why the furor is against the removal of Verma.
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