Press Trust of India

Alok Verma sacked as CBI chief

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New Delh: Alok Verma was shunted out as the CBI chief after a marathon meeting of high-powered selection committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday, officials said.
Verma, a 1979-batch AGMUT cadre IPS officer, has been removed from the high-profile post on the charges of corruption and dereliction of duty making him the first chief in the history of the agency to face such action, they said.
He is likely to be moved to the National Human Rights Commission, they said.
There were eight counts of charges against him in the CVC report presented before the Committee also comprising Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice A K Sikri, appointed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as his nominee.
The decision for the removal was taken by a majority with Kharge opposing the move, they said.
The panel which also included Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of the largest party in the Lok Sabha and the second senior-most Supreme Court judge, AK Sikri, decided to remove Alok Verma with a 2-1 majority.
While Modi and Justice Sikri voted in favour of removing Verma, Kharge was against the move. The panel previously convened on Wednesday night. However, the meeting remained inconclusive.
CBI chief Verma and his second-in-command Special Director Rakesh Asthana were sent on the forced leave over two months ago in October 2018 after reports of differences between the two. The two seniormost CBI officials had accused each other of corruption. After a few weeks of an all-out war between Verma and Asthana, the Centre cracked the whip and sent both the officers on leave.
Verma challenged his “forced leave” in the Supreme Court which on Tuesday (January 8, 2019) reinstated him while making it clear that he will desist from taking any major policy decision till a high-powered committee considers the issue of “divestment of power and authority”. “We deem it proper to direct that Verma, Director CBI, upon reinstatement, will cease and desist from taking any major policy decisions till the decision of the committee permitting such actions and decisions becomes available within the time frame indicated,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said.
Asthana too approached the Delhi High Court for quashing of an FIR registered by the CBI, reportedly at the instance of Verma, in an alleged corruption case. A decision in this regard is pending in the high court.
Verma’s two-year fixed tenure as CBI director would have ended on January 31. (with inputs from PTI)

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