A high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday removed Alok Verma as the CBI Chief, who was reinstated by a Supreme Court order after he was sent on forced leave by the government. The panel led by the prime minister ordered to remove Verma from his position in a 2-1 decision.
Apart from the prime minister, the panel included Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice A K Sikri, who was nominated by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to represent him. PM Modi and Justice Sikri opined to remove Verma from his position while Kharge protested the removal. Mallikarjuna Kharge gave a dissent note during the meeting and said that Verma should not be penalised and be given an extension of 77 days for which he was not allowed to attend the office. This is the second time Kharge has objected to Verma's removal.
Meanwhile, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has posted Alok Verma as DG, Fire Services, Civil Defence, and Home Guards. Verma's two-year fixed tenure as CBI director ends on January 31. The charge of the CBI has again been given to Additional Director M Nageshwar Rao, according to a government order.
10 KEY DEVELOPMENTS
1. Alok Verma was shunted out as the CBI Chief after a marathon meeting of high-powered selection committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.
2. Alok Verma 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.
3. The decision for the removal was taken by a 2:1 majority with only Kharge opposing.
4. There were eight counts of charges against Alok Verma in the CVC report presented before the panel which included alleged attempts to induct tainted officers, compromising probe in the case related to controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi, IRCTC scam among others, they said.
5. The Central Vigilance Commission claimed that it had found evidence of influencing of probe in the Moin Qureshi case and there were intercepts of RAW, an external snooping agency, that Rs 2 crore had changed hands. The CVC was of the view that his conduct in the case was suspicious and there was a prima facie case against him, and wanted a criminal investigation to be conducted in the case.
6. Alok Verma and deputy Special Director Rakesh Asthana were sent on a forced leave over two months ago to stop the "kilkenny cat fight" between them. They had accused each other of corruption.
7. The court reinstated Verma on Wednesday and made 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".
8. Rakesh Asthana has also 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.
9. Verma, who resumed office on Wednesday, had revoked most of the transfers done by M Nageshwar Rao, who was appointed as the interim CBI chief in his absence.
10. Earlier on Thursday, Verma retained the team probing the agency's Special Director Rakesh Asthana, minutes after Deputy Inspector General M K Sinha requested to recuse himself from taking charge of the investigation.
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