Narendra Modi-led panel removes Alok Verma as CBI chief day after he resumed office; Congress cries foul

A high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday removed Alok Verma as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director, merely a day after he had resumed office on Wednesday.

 Narendra Modi-led panel removes Alok Verma as CBI chief day after he resumed office; Congress cries foul

File image of CBI director Alok Verma. CNN-News18

PTI quoted officials as saying that Verma was removed on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty. The officials also said that he was likely to be posted in the National Human Rights Commission.

According to news reports, the decision to remove Verma as CBI chief was not a unanimous decision. India Today TV also reported that Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge dissented. The committee had met late on Wednesday and again on Thursday to decide on the matter. A Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report had made charges of bribery against Verma.

The committee had met for over two hours on Thursday to decide the fate of Verma, reinstated by a Supreme Court order after he was sent on forced leave by the government.

Here is the full statement of Kharge, who had dissented with the decision to remove Alok Verma as CBI chief:

"I am shocked because first of all, I don't know whether it was a majority or unanimous decision. I also do not know whether Alok Verma was given an opportunity to rebut the charges made by the CVC," BJP leader Subramanian Swamy told CNN-News18.

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi also told the news channel that he was sorry to hear this, adding that it was sad to see that a person who had 15 to 20 days left in the job was suddenly removed.

The meeting was also attended by Kharge and Justice AK Sikri, who was nominated by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to represent him.

The CBI chief and his deputy Special Director Rakesh Asthana were sent on the forced leave over two months ago to stop the "kilkenny cat fight" between them. They had accused each other of corruption.

Verma had revoked most of the transfers done by M Nageshwar Rao, who was appointed as the interim CBI chief in his absence.

Ahead of the meeting, Kharge had said he has sought documents, including an enquiry report by the CVC into the matter.

"I have asked for certain documents from the government concerning the matter including the CVC's inquiry reports," he had said.

He had said that Verma should also be given an opportunity to appear before the committee and represent his case.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi had also attacked the government ahead of the crucial meeting and said Modi is in a "tearing hurry" to "sack" Verma because of the Rafale deal.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Jan 10, 2019 22:15:36 IST