SC allows the CVC to continue probe against ousted CBI chief Alok Verma

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In a significant development the Supreme Court allowed the Chief Vigilance Commission to continue its probe against the ousted CBI chief Alok Verma and complete it within two weeks.

Meanwhile, the interim CBI Chief M Nagashwara Rao will continue with routine work but will not take any policy decisions during this two week period, the apex court said.

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This CVC probe, on allegations of corruption charges against Verma, will be conducted under a retired Supreme Court Judge AK Patnaik. Moreover, Alok Verma won’t be reinstated immediately. The next hearing will be on Nov 12.

The Supreme Court, or SC,  was hearing a plea filed by CBI Director Alok Verma on Wednesday, against the government’s order that divested him and his deputy Special director Rakesh Asthana of their roles and duties on Wednesday and told them to go on leave on the recommendation of the Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC).

CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana on Friday also moved the Supreme Court challenging the central government’s decision to send him on leave.

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The government asked Verma and Ashtana to go on leave as they were embroiled in a very public battle which came to a head when the CBI filed an First Information Report (FIR) against the Special Director Asthana. Asthana and Verma were at loggerheads on several issues and accused each other of blocking investigation of several important cases.

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet took the decision to remove the Verma and Asthana from duty. The CBI chief has fixed term of two years and according to a 1997 Supreme Court ruling three people – the Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition and the Chief Justice of India – need to give their nos to remove the CBI director from office.

After the CBI filed an FIR was against him, Asthana moved the Delhi High Court seeking the quashing of FIR. The court later ordered that no action would be taken against Asthana until next hearing, which is scheduled for October 29.

The CBI had filed an FIR against Asthana for allegedly accepting a bribe from a businessman, who was linked to Moin Akhtar Qureshi case. Asthana was heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that was probing Qureshi’s case.

Meanwhile, a separate CVC enquiry is underway against allegations of corruption against Alok Verma.

The CBI official spokesperson on Thursday confirmed that Verma will continue to remain CBI Director, Asthana will remain Special Director.

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