CBI chief Alok Verma, his deputy Rakesh Asthana and some other officers were sent on leave in a late strike by the authorities in the center of an extraordinary battle within the top of the country investigating agency.
M Nageswar Rao took over as interim director just after a government arrangement at 1.45 am, which has been challenged by Alok Verma in court.
The Supreme Court will hear the CBI director’s petition.
The two Rakesh Asthana and Alok Verma were barred from their offices and officers working with the CBI manager have been sent on leave. One officer in the manager’s team, AK Bassi, has been moved to Port Blair” in public interest.”
The rooms of those officers around the 11th and 10th floor of the CBI’s headquarters in Delhi are being searched, state sources.
The developments followed a recommendation by the nation’s top vigilance officer, Chief Vigilance Commissioner KV Chowdary that the CBI’s warring top two be routed to”compulsory wait,” stripped of all responsibilities.
Sources say, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had summoned Rakesh Asthana and Alok Verma equally to discuss the crisis and the recommendation, agreed.
Rakesh Asthana, denying the charges, told the authorities that it was his boss who had taken a bribe of Rs. 2 crores by precisely the same businessman. He also delivered a 50-page complaint against his group and Alok Verma.
The opposition has accused the government of trying to safeguard Rakesh Asthana – a Gujarat cadre officer dubbed the Prime Minister’s”gloomy boy” by Congress president Rahul Gandhi – who, after being appointed the number two officer last year despite stiff opposition from Alok Verma, handled significant investigations.
Alok Verma can’t be eliminated with no meeting of a group that includes the PM, Chief Justice, and chief of the opposition before his mended two-year term as CBI manager said Prashant Bhushan.
Rakesh Asthana yesterday took the CBI to a court requesting the charges against him to be canceled and also for protection against arrest.
The Delhi High Court said Rakesh Asthana wouldn’t be arrested at least Monday till it discovered the case and did not cancel the instance, but sent notice to the CBI director.