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Major reshuffle at CBI: Interim Director Nageswara Rao transfers 20 officers

The transfer order, however, states that all the officers, who have been specially directed to supervise, investigate or enquire into any case or matter by any constitutional court, shall continue to do.

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New Delhi Published on: January 21, 2019 22:24 IST
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Major reshuffle at CBI: Interim Director Nageswara Rao transfers 20 officers

In a major reshuffle, interim CBI Director Nageswara Rao has transferred around 20 officers, including the investigation officer of the 2G scam case, Vivek Priyadarshi.

Priyadarshi, posted in the Anti Corruption Branch in Delhi, has been transferred to Chandigarh.

The transfer order, however, states that all the officers, who have been specially directed to supervise, investigate or enquire into any case or matter by any constitutional court, shall continue to do.

A Saravanan, who was probing the anti-Sterlite protests firing case in Tamil Nadu in which 13 people were killed, has been shifted to the banking, securities and frauds branch in Mumbai, which is handling the cases of loan default against diamond traders Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, among others, the order said.

He will continue to investigate anti-Sterlite protests case, it said.

Prem Gautam, posted in Special Unit of the CBI which does internal snooping on officers as a vigilance measure, has been relieved from the position. He will continue to probe economic offences and will also handle additional charge of the Deputy Director (Personnel), it said.

Gautam will be replaced by Ram Gopal, who has been transferred from Special Crime branch in Chandigarh.

Rao's appointment as interim director has been challenged by activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan in the Supreme Court, which is likely to hear the matter on January 24.

Calling the appointment arbitrary, the plea said he was not appointed on the basis of recommendations of the high-powered selection committee, comprising the Prime Minister, the leader of largest party in the opposition, and the Chief Justice of India or his nominee Supreme Court judge.

Meanwhile, CBI DSP A K Bassi Monday moved the Supreme Court challenging his transfer to Port Blair saying it was vitiated by "malafides" and would prejudice the probe against former special director Rakesh Asthana.

Bassi, who was the investigating officer in the corruption case against Asthana, said he is being "victimised by the present interim CBI Director - M Nageswara Rao, who represents certain elements within the CBI, who did not want the Petitioner herein to conduct a free and fair investigation in the Asthana FIR".

He said it was Rao, who had passed the order dated October 24, 2018 transferring him to Port Blair and it is the same person at whose behest he is being sent to Andaman Nicobar again in utter disregard to the judgment of this Court in the case of former CBI director Alok Verma.

In his plea Bassi has challenged the transfer order issued on January 11 saying it is violative of the directions issued by the top court in its judgment on the plea of Verma who was reinstated.

Verma, however, was divested from his duties as CBI director by the high powered selection committee and transferred as Director General Fire Service. 

"It is passed by an officer/authority not competent to pass such orders. The impugned order intends to victimize the Petitioner herein. The impugned order seeks to unfairly prejudice the investigation against Rakesh Asthana, in FIR...dated October 15, 2018," Bassi said in the plea.

He said there are apprehensions that the transfer order is the first step to implicate him either in a false criminal cases or in a departmental proceedings for discharging his duties in a fair and impartial manner in the investigation of the FIR pertaining to Asthana. 

"The impugned transfer order is non-speaking and fails to disclose reasons for such an emergent sweeping action," the plea said.

Bassi said this is not a routine case of a transfer of an officer. In his application in the Verma case he had submitted that his transfer is pursuant to a deep rooted conspiracy, aimed at influencing the course of the investigation against Asthana and further to penalise him for discharging his duties in a free and impartial manner in the case. 

He said that subsequent to the January 8 verdict in the Verma case, he had made a representation to the then CBI Director (Alok Verma) on January 9, which was allowed and then he was transferred back to Delhi and assigned to his duties of DSP, CBI, AC-III, New Delhi.

(With inputs from PTI)

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