CBI chief Alok Verma under CVC lens

The internal rivalary among top officials of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today took an ugly turn following a report that the CBI chief was reportedly taken into task by his immediate subordinate, accusing him of interfering in his duties while dealing with some sensitive cases. It said that the CBI director Alok Verma is facing Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) probe after a complaint filed by his colleague.

Special Director Rakesh Asthana has alleged that Verma has sought to impede his functioning, interfere in investigations and malign his reputation on the basis of unverified facts. The action was initiated by the CVC after Asthana wrote a letter to the Centre.

However, the CBI in a strongly worded statement has backed its director stating that 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.

As special director, Asthana heads a Special Investigation Team that is probing high-profile cases such as the Kingfisher and AgustaWestland investigations, among others. According to reports, Asthana has also alleged that Verma asked to call off the planned raids against RJD supremo Lalu Prasad in Patna last year at the eleventh hour. The CVC has initiated a primary inquiry, though the CBI spokesperson has refuted all the claims.

Earlier, in July this year, amid reports of power tussle between CBI Director and the second senior most officer, the Central Vigilance Commission had given the go-ahead for extending the tenure of some key officers in the premier investigating agency including those who have worked closely in some high profile cases as part of special director Rakesh Asthana’s team.

Incidentally, 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.

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