Both CBI Director Verma and Special Director Asthana were suspended to facilitate a fair probe, claims FM
- Offices of Verma, Asthana sealed, CISF ordered to not let them enter CBI premises
- PMO reportedly summoned both the director and deputy director of the CBI regarding the case on Monday
- Prashant Bhushan claims removal of CBI Director ‘illegal’
- Rahul Gandhi links action against CBI director to alleged Rafale scam
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a press conference on October 24 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).
“CVC (Central Vigilance Committee) said in its meeting yesterday that neither the two officers (Arun Verma & Rakesh Asthana) nor any agency under their supervision can investigate the charges against them. CVC has all the material of their allegations against each other. They will sit out by going on leave to preserve the integrity of the CBI, and in the interests of fairness,” the Finance Minister said.
#WATCH: Union Min Arun Jaitley says, "CVC in its yesterday's meeting said neither these 2 officers (Arun Verma & Rakesh Asthana) nor any agency under their supervision can investigate charges against them. So the officers will sit out by going on leave. It's an interim measure" pic.twitter.com/NHffr1WLeD
— ANI (@ANI) October 24, 2018
CBI Director Alok Verma has moved the Supreme Court against the government’s decision to send him on leave and appoint M. Nageshwar Rao as the interim chief of the CBI in a 1 AM ‘coup’, as reported by NDTV. This decision was followed by a mass transfer of more than 10 CBI officials, at least some of which were part of the team probing the case against Special Director Rakesh Asthana, as reported by ANI.
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 appointed him.
Sr lawyer @pbhushan1 to challenge #AlokVerma's removal as CBI chief in court. Watch him in conversation with India Today's @PoojaShali#ITVideo
More videos: https://t.co/Nounxo6IKQ pic.twitter.com/4Ap2An8Rpi
— India Today (@IndiaToday) October 24, 2018
A report in The Wire claimed that CBI Director Alok Verma was being targeted by the Modi government due to his interest in investigating the Rafale case. Congress President Rahul Gandhi also asserted that Verma was targeted because of the Rafale case while addressing a rally in Jhalawar.
CBI चीफ आलोक वर्मा राफेल घोटाले के कागजात इकट्ठा कर रहे थे। उन्हें जबरदस्ती छुट्टी पर भेज दिया गया।
प्रधानमंत्री का मैसेज एकदम साफ है जो भी राफेल के इर्द गिर्द आएगा- हटा दिया जाएगा, मिटा दिया जाएगा।
देश और संविधान खतरे में हैं।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 24, 2018
The Supreme Court will reportedly hear Verma’s plea against his removal on Friday.