Former CBI director Alok Verma, who was ousted from the agency by a high-powered selection committee on Thursday, has said that he was transferred on the basis of “false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations” made by only one person, who was inimical to him
Alok Verma, the first CBI director to be removed on corruption charges, refused to take up his next assignment and resigned from service on Friday. Verma, who was not allowed to represent before the three-member committee, said “natural justice was scuttled and the entire process was turned upside down in ensuring that the undersigned is removed from the post of the Director”.
Verma complained that he had not been given an opportunity to present his side and the Central Vigilance Commission, or CVC’s probe had largely gone by the statement of a police officer being probed for corruption, a reference to Rakesh Asthana who was his deputy at the CBI.
“This is a moment for collective introspection, to state the least,” said Alok Verma, a1979-batch Indian Police Service officer. Pointing to the decision of the committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remove him from CBI director’s post, Verma said the decision would “not just be a reflection on my functioning” but also “a testimony on how the CBI as an institution will be treated by any government”.
In a veiled swipe at the anti-corruption watchdog, Verma’s letter also stressed that the CVC is appointed by majority members of the ruling government.
Breaking his silence, Verma, in a statement to PTI late on Thursday night said that the CBI, being a prime investigating agency dealing in corruption in high public places, is an institution whose independence should be preserved and protected.
“It must function without external influences. I have tried to uphold the integrity of the institution while attempts were being made to destroy it. The same can be seen from the orders of the central government and the CVC dated October 23, 2018 which were without jurisdiction and were set aside,” he said.
Verma said it was “sad” that he was transferred to another post pursuant to the orders of the committee on the basis of “false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations made by only one person, who was inimical to him”.
In the statement, he said the committee was assigned the task of deciding his future course of action as the CBI director.
Special Director Rakesh Asthana, with whom Verma had a public feud, had given a complaint against him to the cabinet secretary in August which was referred to the Central Vigilance Commission. The report given by the commission carried most of the allegations which led to the ouster of Verma.
According to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who was the dissenting voice in the three member committee also comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Justice A K Sikri, there were 10 allegations.
Six were false, four needed further investigations, and four had circumstantial evidence and were “unflattering” to Verma, he said in his note to the committee.
Asthana was booked by the CBI on October 15, 2018 on the basis of a magisterial statement recorded by a businessman Sathish Babu Sana who had claimed that two businessmen brothers had sought bribe of Rs 5 crore from him to get relief to him in a CBI case against him using their contacts with the special director.
Verma, a 1979-batch IPS officer, was transferred as Director General Fire Services after the high-powered selection committee decided to remove him from the post of the CBI director. “I have stood up for the integrity of the institution, and if asked will do it again in order to uphold the rule of law,” he said.