#CBIvsCBI: CVC claims Director Verma ‘non-compliant’; Oppn. claims Rafale cover-up

Alok Verma. Credit: Firstpost

The Committee claimed Verma was creating ‘willful obstructions’ in its functioning

Highlights

  • CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana sent on leave
  • CBI joint director M. Nageshwar Rao appointed as interim CBI chief
  • Verma’s entire team transferred; Asthana’s team stays put’
  • Opposition parties claim Verma removed over Rafale investigations

The Central Vigilance Committee (CVC) said in a press release on Wednesday that CBI Director Alok Verma was ‘non-cooperative’ with the commission and ‘non-compliant’ with the requirements and directions of the CVC, and has created ‘willful obstructions’ in the functioning of the committee.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in a press conference earlier that the decision to send CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana on leave was an interim order to facilitate a fair probe in the case, which will be undertaken by a Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Related: Jaitley claims Director Verma sent on leave for ‘fairness’

Opposition leaders have criticised the government’s actions, claiming that Alok Verma was being targeted due to his investigation of the Rafale deal. Some leaders also claimed that M. Nageshwar Rao was also being investigated for corruption himself prior to his elevation to interim CBI chief.

Veteran lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who is fighting the case in the Supreme Court, told India Today in an interview that the removal of Verma by the government was “illegal”, since he has an established tenure, and he can only be removed by the authority that appoints the CBI director, which is chaired by the Prime Minister and includes the Chief Justice of India and the leader of the opposition.

Alok Verma has moved the Supreme Court against the procedure of his suspension. The Supreme Court will hear Verma’s plea on Friday.