A Selection Committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday removed Alok Verma from the post of CBI Director. The Committee took the decision on the basis of the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report. According to reports, CVC found evidence against Verma of influencing investigation in the controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi case.
There was also evidence of Verma taking a bribe of Rs 2 crore to give relief to Qureshi - a millionaire meat exporter from Kanpur, who faces multiple investigations, ranging from tax evasion to money laundering and corruption. “The CVC said Alok Verma's conduct in the case is suspicious, and there is a prima facie case against him,” sources privy of the development were quoted as saying.
The CVC report claimed that the CBI team looking into the case wanted to make Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana an accused in the case but Verma never gave clearance to special director Rakesh Asthana, who was leading the investigation. Asthana along with Verma was sent on forced leave on October 23.
The CVC report also contained intercepts from the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the external snooping agency, in which "money changing hands with number one in the CBI" is talked about, the officials said.
Incidentally, Sana is the complainant for a case registered against Asthana in which he has given graphical details about how he had paid a bribe to his middlemen. He has also mentioned the name of Samanta Goel, the second-in-command at the RAW, of being involved in protecting the middleman, Manoj Prasad.
Not only this, the CVC felt that Alok Verma deliberately excluded a name from an FIR in the IRCTC case involving former Union Minister Lalu Prasad, for reasons best known to him. The CVC found evidence against him in several other cases as well. It also found instances of wilful non-production of record.
The CVC, which has a supervisory role over the CBI, was of the view that his conduct in the case is suspicious, and there is a prima facie case against him. The CVC also felt that the entire truth will come out if a criminal investigation is ordered.
The commission also alleged that Verma was trying to bring in tainted officials into the CBI. It claimed that efforts seeking cooperation from the CBI chief did not yield results as he continued to keep the files away from the CVC.
The high-powered panel led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and consisting of Justice A K Sikri and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, considered the CVC report which levelled eight counts of charges against Verma. The panel's decision to remove Verma was based on a majority vote of 2:1 with Kharge opposing it and Justice Sikri siding with the government, officials said.
He has been shunted out just two days after the Supreme Court reinstated him with riders. Verma has become the first chief in the CBI’s more than 50-year history to be removed. Meanwhile, Additional Director M Nageshwar Rao has been given interim charge of CBI chief till the appointment of a new chief. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has subsequently posted Alok Verma as DG, Fire Services, Civil Defence, and Home Guards.