CBI versus CBI row LATEST updates: A CBI spokesperson has said that the agency reconstituted the team probing Rakesh Asthana's case for a fair investigation.
Alok Verma in a petition to the Supreme Court has said that the government's action against him is illegal.
According to a government press release accessed by News18, the government took the decision to divest the CBI director Alok Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana of all charges after being satisfied that an extraordinary and unprecedented situation has arisen, says a government press release.
A petition has been filed in the Bombay High Court seeking setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for an investigation into the Alok Verma - Rakesh Asthana issue. The petition also demands that a retired Supreme Court judge is in the SIT, ANI reported.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi also attacked the government while speaking at a rally in Rajasthan's Jhalavar. He said that the CBI director was seeking papers on Rafale scam, which is why he was removed from the post last night. He said that in doing so, the prime minister has warned all officers in investigating agencies that anyone who comes near probing the alleged scam, will end up losing their post.
The Congress Wednesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of interfering in the working of the CBI and wondered if its Director Alok Verma was "sacked" for his keenness to probe the "layers of corruption" in the Rafale scam.
Arun Jaitley rubbished allegations levelled by three opposition parties, the Congress, AAP and CPM and said that they were not worthy of his comment. He asked whether the Opposition parties were claiming to know what runs in the mind of an officer of CBI.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Ajay Bassi, who was investigating the Special Director Rakesh Asthana bribery case has been transferred to Port Blair, reports said.
An FIR was filed against Asthana on 15 October alleging that kickbacks were received by a middleman on behalf of Asthana to scuttle a probe in the meat exporter Moin Qureshi case. Though Asthana was granted interim relief from arrest in the 15 October FIR by the Delhi High Court, the court said investigation in the bribery case will continue. Bassi was investigating the case.
File image of Alok Verma. News18
The decision was announced soon after CBI director Alok Verma moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday against the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) order divesting the CBI director of his charge of the investigation agency and asking Joint Director M Nageshwar Rao to take over.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Verma's petition on 26 October.
According to IANS, the ACC took the decision past midnight as war between Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana escalated over bribery allegations hurled at each other.
"The ACC has approved that during the period of the subsistence of the aforesaid interim measure, cited in reference above, M Nageshwar Rao, IPS, presently working as Joint Director, CBI, shall look after duties and functions of Director CBI and shall take over the duties and functions with immediate effect," the official statement said.
The decision came after Asthana was divested of all supervisory charges on Tuesday.
The government appeared to be peeved over the war at the top in the country's premiere probe agency and took the action as he could not be sacked straight away.
Verma was appointed as CBI Director for two years and his tenure ends in December.
The CBI on Tuesday suspended its Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, who was arrested on Monday on the charge of falsification of records while probing allegations against meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
It also added five new sections into the existing bribery FIR lodged against its Special Director.
Kumar is an Investigating Officer in a case against Qureshi, who is facing multiple cases of money laundering and corruption. A trial court on Tuesday sent Kumar to CBI custody for seven days.
Asthana, a 1984 batch Indian Police Service officer of Gujarat cadre, is accused of accepting a bribe of Rs 2 crore from a Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana who was under probe in the Qureshi case in order to "wreck" the investigation.
The case was being examined by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Asthana.
The CBI has said that there was "no change in responsibilities" of the the second-in-command so far.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Oct 24, 2018 18:52 PM