Within hours of resuming charge as the Director of CBI, Alok Verma was removed from the position by the PM-led committee. Verma was subsequently appointed DG, Fire Services, Civil Defence, and Home Guards. The crisis in the CBI, as the media portrayed it, started in October when the deputy of Alok Verma, Rakesh Asthana, levelled corruption allegations against him. Subsequently, Alok Verma, along with Asthana, was sent on compulsory leave, an order Verma challenged in the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court reinstated Verma but restrained him from taking any important policy decisions until a PM-led committee, comprising of Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice Sikri, took a decision on the charges levied against Verma in the CVC report. In its verdict, the Supreme Court had, while reinstating Verma, recognized the gravity of the allegations against him in the CVC report. The Court had acknowledged that with regard to the CVC report, “That there were portions that were not complimentary to him.”
According to sources, the CVC report, which the PM-led committee took into consideration, itself contains some damning charges against Alok Verma, in particular with regard to the controversial meat exporter and Hawala operator, Moin Akhtar Qureshi. Citing the CVC report, the committee noted, “CVC found evidence of influencing of investigation in the Moin Qureshi case. There was also evidence of taking of 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.” The 2 crore bribe as mentioned in the CVC report was allegedly taken by Alok Verma from an aid of Qureshi, Sathish Babu Sana. The bribe was paid in connection with a case pending against Qureshi. In the Qureshi case, R&AW intercepts cited by the CVC report also mention “Money changing hands with the number one in CBI.”
Another charge leveled against Alok Verma is that he tried to save an officer closer to Lalu Yadav in the IRCTC case. The Committee stated that “In the IRCTC case, the CVC felt that it can be reasonably concluded that Shri Verma deliberately excluded a name from the FIR, for reasons best known to him.”
Furthermore, the Committee also took note of some other serious charges against Verma in the CVC report including “Instances of willful non-production of record, and fabrication of record” and “Attempts to induct officers of doubtful integrity in CBI.”
Sources told rightlog.in that the PM-led committee also took note of the counters put-forth by Alok Verma. Alok Verma had stated that he was not given a chance to be heard. To this, the committee noted that Verma was given an opportunity to present his case before the CVC, in presence of Retd. Justice Patnaik. Similarly, a copy of the CVC report was also provided to the advocate of Alok Verma.
In addition, there are several other corruption charges included in the CVC report against Alok Verma, including a land acquisition case in Gurgaon in which Verma’s name had figured. The CVC report further stated that Rs 36 crore had changed hands in the case and had recommended a probe in the case as well.
As is evident, the corruption and misconduct charges against Alok Verma are of very serious nature, the validity of which has also been recognized by the Supreme Court. According to sources, in its recommendation for the transfer of Alok Verma, the committee also noted the same, “The mandate of the Selection Panel headed by PM is limited to the appointment of CBI chief, and transfer of CBI chief. The Committee felt that as a detailed investigation, including criminal investigation, was necessary, in some cases, his continuation as CBI Director was not desirable, and he should be transferred.”
The nature of the charges not only warranted the transfer of Alok Verma but as is evident further investigation must be conducted in these charges.
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