Action against CBI top brass on CVC's advice, says govt

The government on Tuesday said the decision to divest Alok Kumar Verma and Rakesh Asthana of their roles as director and special director, respectively, of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was taken on the advice of the Central Vigilance Commission.

Subsequently, CBI joint director M Nageshwar Rao was handed over charge of the director of CBI.
A government statement said CBI director Alok Verma was sent on leave as he was not cooperating with the Central Vigilance Commission in its probe of "serious allegations" against him. The CBI director was non-compliant with the requirements/directions of the CVC and had created wilful obstructions in the functioning of the commission, according to the government.
“The grave allegations of corruption by senior functionaries of CBI against one another, which has been widely reported in the media, has vitiated the official eco-system of the organisation. The environment of faction feud has reached its peak in the CBI, leading to a potential loss of credibility and reputation of the premier investigating agency of the government. It also vitiated the working environment of the organisation, which has deep and visible impact on the overall governance,” says a government release.
According to the official release, the CVC, on receipt of a complaint on 24 August 2018 containing various allegations against the senior functionaries of the CBI, served three separate notices (under section 11 of CVC Act, 2003) on 11 September upon the director, CBI to produce files and documents before the Commission on 14 September. The agency failed to produce such records even after repeated requests and after several adjournments CBI, on 24 September, assured the commission to furnish the records within three weeks. However, the CBI director failed to furnish records / files before the commission. The CVC has observed that director, CBI has not been cooperating in making available records / files sought by the commission relating to serious allegations.
The CVC has also, reportedly, observed that the director, CBI has been non-cooperative with the commission, non-compliant with the requirements / directions of the commission and has created wilful obstructions in the functioning of the commission which is a constitutional body.
“Considering the extra-ordinary and unprecedented circumstances, which has emerged, the CVC decided to exercise its powers of superintendence over the functioning of DPSE (CBI), in so far as it relates to the investigation of offences alleged to have been committed under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and passed orders divesting Alok Kumar Verma, director, CBI and Rakesh Asthana, special director, CBI, of the functions, power, duty and supervisory role in respect of cases already registered and/or required to be registered and/or being  inquired/enquired/investigated under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, until further orders,” says the release.
The government, the release stated, evaluated the material before it and in the interest of equality, fair play and principles of natural justice and decided to divest Alok Kumar Verma, director, CBI and Rakesh Asthana, special director, CBI, of their functions, power, duty and supervisory role in any manner as director, CBI and special director, CBI, respectively.
This, according to the government, is an interim measure and will subsist "till the CVC concludes its inquiry into all issues which have given rise to the present extra-ordinary and unprecedented situation and till the CVC and/or government of India takes an appropriate decision in accordance with the law as regards to the measures to be adopted as a consequence thereof.”