NEW DELHI — Barely 48 hours after the Supreme Court reinstated CBI chief Alok Verma, who was on leave following a public spat with his deputy Rakesh Asthana, a high-power committee chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to transfer him on Thursday, NDTV reports.
After taking over reinstated status Alok Verma had cancelled the transfers of 10 officers signed by the interim CBI direstor Director Nageshwara Rao, and transferred five others in 24 hours.
The Supreme Court had ruled that he would not take any policy decision till a committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the leader of the largest opposition party, took a call on his status.
The committee today met at PM Modi’s house to decide Mr Verma’s fate, according to report and decided to transfer him.
The Committee consisting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, SC judge Justice A K Sikri (CJI nominee) and Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge met at PM Modi’s house to decide Mr Verma’s fate, has decided to transfer him. He is removed from the high-profile post on the charges of corruption and dereliction of duty, says a PTI report.
Committee reportedly decided to transfer Alok Verma to the post of Director General Fire Services.
On January 8, Supreme Court had quashed the orders of CVC and DoPT which had divested Verma of the charges of CBI Director. The Court reasoned that the action by Centre against Verma amounted to “transfer”, which required prior consent of the High Powered Committee under Section 4(1) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
However, the SC also clarified that the issue regarding suitability of Verma to continue as CBI Director in view of the allegations against him was open to be considered by the Committee. Accordingly, the Committee was directed to take a call on this within a week. Verma’s reinstatement was made conditional on Committee’s approval, and he was restrained from taking major policy decisions until then.
Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan alleged that the panel’s decision was motivated by the possibility of an investigation into the Rafale fighter jet deal. “How can you act against Alok Verma without even hearing his side,” he reportedly said.
Congress also reacted sharply on Verma’s removal from CBI and said that by removing Alok Verma from his position without giving him the chance to present his case, PM Modi has shown once again that he’s too afraid of an investigation, either by an independent CBI director or by Parliament via JPC.
(With media inputs)