CBI Director Alok Verma, who was restored a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, has been removed from his position.
He was removed from the position on Thursday on charges of corruption and dereliction of duties after a marathon meeting of the high-powered selection committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials said.
Verma was restored with full powers by a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph, but the bench had said the matter would go to the selection committee which will look into the issue.
However, Chief Justice decided not to attend the selection committee meeting and nominated Justice AK Sikri to attend the meeting on his behalf.
The committee, which also had Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Malikarjun Kharge as member, met twice – on Wednesday and Thursday.
A report published on Thursday by by Outlook India quoted officials as saying Verma, whose fixed tenure of two years was to end on January 31, is the first chief in the 55 years of the CBI’s history to face such action.
The outgoing CBI chief, has been posted as the Director General Fire Service, Civil Defence and Home Guards, under the Union Home Ministry.
The charge of the CBI has been given to Additional Director M Nageshwar Rao, said a government order issued on Thursday evening.
It has been reported that there were eight counts of charges against Verma in the CVC report presented before the selection committee.
The charges included alleged attempts to induct tainted officers, compromising probe in the Moin Qureshi case, IRCTC scam among others, officials said.
Officials also said the decision for the removal of 1979-batch IPS officer Verma was taken by a majority with Congress MP Kharge opposing the move.
The meeting of the committee which was was convened on Wednesday lasted for nearly 30 minutes.
The was convened again on Thursday at the residence of Prime Minister Modi at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg at around 4.30 PM.
The meeting continued for nearly two hours with Kharge strongly arguing for giving a chance to Verma to present his case before the selection committee on the allegations levelled by the CVC against him.
However, Prime Minister Modi and Justice Sikri did not agree with his position making clear his ouster from the agency.
Reacting to the development regarding Verma’s ouster, the Congress said, “By removing Alok Verma from his position without giving him the chance to present his case, PM Modi has shown once again that he’s too afraid of an investigation, either by an independent CBI director or by Parliament via JPC.”
It may be mentioned that a delegation of former ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha along with activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan had met Verma on October 4, 2018 with plea of registering an FIR in the Rafal aircraft purchase deal.
The then CBI director Verma was sent on forced leave by the government in a late-night controversial order on October 23, 2018 in the wake of a feud between him and his deputy Special Director Rakesh Asthana which had intensified after Asthana was booked on corruption charges by the CBI on October 15, 2018.
Verma had challenged the order in the Supreme Court which had quashed the government order Tuesday and reinstated him with a condition that the high-powered selection committee will decide his fate in a week.
Verma joined the office on Wednesday after 77 days of forced leave set aside by the Supreme Court.