CBI’s internal war out in open as Asthana files complaint against Director; report

CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, believed to be close to PM Modi and Amit Shah, has complained to the Govt that CBI Director Alok Verma impeded his functioning and interferes in probes

CBI’s internal war out in open as Asthana files complaint against Director; report
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NH Web Desk

The Central Vigilance Commission has started a fact-finding probe, based on a complaint filed by Central Bureau of Investigation Special Director Rakesh Asthana against CBI director Alok Verma, the Economic Times has reported on Friday, September 21. According to the report, the complaint was first made to the government, which, after several rounds of consultations, referred the matter to the CVC. The CVC has initiated the preliminary exercise of examining facts of the allegations mentioned in the complaint and whether they are sound enough to launch any formal inquiry. If not, sources said, the matter can be dismissed, reported ET.

In his complaint, Asthana has alleged that the CBI director has sought to impede his functioning, interfere in investigations and malign his reputation on the basis of unverified facts, stated the ET report. Quoting sources, the report said Verma had allegedly asked Asthana to call off the planned raids against RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav in Patna last year in the IRCTC case. However, the raid was conducted after Asthana stood his ground. This along with several other instances are part of Asthana’s complaint.

However, according to the ET report, sources close to the CBI director dismissed the allegations as a “pack of lies” and Verma declined to comment on the matter.

That there are disagreements among the top officers of the CBI is not exactly a secret. Both officials have been at loggerheads for more than a year now. In July, Verma had written to the CVC that Asthana cannot represent the CBI director at meetings where decisions on selection, extension and promotion of CBI officers are to be taken.

The rivalry had begun in October last year when Verma objected to Asthana's appointment as special director and gave a dissent note. At that point, Verma had sent a note to Chowdary who heads the panel for selection and promotion of CBI officers, saying his name had figured in a bribery case and he shouldn't be promoted.

That there are disagreements among the top officers of the CBI is not exactly a secret. Both officials have been at loggerheads for more than a year now. In July, Verma had written to the CVC that Asthana cannot represent the CBI director at meetings where decisions on selection, extension and promotion of CBI officers are to be taken

Asthana, a Gujarat-cadre IPS officer, is said to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. The CBI comes under the Department of Personnel and Training, thus directly under the Prime Minister’s Office .

The CBI is probing the contents of a diary, seized in Gujarat in 2011, that purportedly mentions payments to some police officials and politicians. Asthana's name allegedly figured in the diary. But the Centre had overruled Verma's objection and approved Asthana's appointment as special director.

It must be remembered that the role of the CVC-chaired selection committee headed by Chowdary had come under the spotlight after Asthana became the CBI Special Director last year. The committee, at the time, chose to ignore a note from CBI director Verma pertaining to corruption allegations and objecting to Asthana’s name.

The CVC upheld the promotion after it concluded that the allegations were unfounded. Despite this, the matter was challenged in the Supreme Court, which ruled in CVC’s favour.

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