The Central Bureau of Investigation in a strongly worded statement released on Friday, September 21 has backed its director, Alok Verma, after the Economic Times reported on Friday that the Central Vigilance Commission has started a fact-finding probe, based on a complaint filed by CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana against CBI Director Alok Verma.
“Certain allegations have been made in a newspaper... referring to a complaint filed before the Central Vigilance Commission against the Director, CBI... It is unfortunate that baseless and frivolous allegations are being made publically without proper verification of facts to malign the image of the Director CBI and intimidate the officials of the organisation,” read the CBI statement, which several journalists have shared on Twitter. National Herald has not been able to independently verify the statement from CBI.
The CBI statement said that in its response to the letter from the CVC, “the Central Vigilance Office of the CBI has pointed out that the complaint is an attempt by the complainant to intimidate the officers of the CBI who are investigating his role in at least half a dozen cases”.
According to the ET report, the complaint by Asthana was first made to the government, which, after several rounds of consultations, referred the matter to the CVC. 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.
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.
However, according to the ET report, sources close to the CBI director dismissed the allegations as a “pack of lies”.
In it’s statement today, the CBI said it had also pointed out in its letter to the CVC that “the issue relating to the IRCTC was raked up earlier and brought before the Honourable Supreme Court on two occasions. The matter was dismissed by the Honourable Supreme Court... The allegation of preventing raids against the accused in the IRCTC case is absolutely false.”
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. The Centre had overruled Verma's objection at the time and approved Asthana's appointment as special director.