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CVC indicted ex-CBI chief Verma in 3 cases

Author: Dhananjay Mahapatra
Publication: The Times of India
Date: October 12, 2019
URL:      https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/cvc-indicted-ex-cbi-chief-verma-in-3-cases/articleshow/71548537.cms

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had last year severely indicted former CBI director Alok Kumar Verma in three major cases — bribing of CBI officers to dilute cases involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, excluding a key suspect from the FIR in the IRCTC scam, and attempting to induct tainted officers into the agency.

The CVC’s findings, undisclosed till now, had played a key role in the decision to remove Verma from the CBI.

The SC had ordered an inquiry by the CVC, under the supervision of former SC judge A K Patnaik, into then CBI special director Rakesh Asthana’s 10 allegations against Verma who was then heading the agency. The allegations were detailed in Asthana’s August 24, 2018, letter to the cabinet secretary.

The seriousness of the allegations against Alok Verma had led the CVC to pass an order on October 23 last year divesting Verma of his powers, functions and duties as CBI director.

Asthana’s complaint and a counter-charge against him by Verma were at the centre of a public spat between the then CBI chief and his number two, which divided the agency. Verma later refused to take charge as director general of home guards and resigned. Asthana was moved to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and is currently heading the Narcotics Control Bureau.

After submission of the report, a bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi on January 8 had quashed the CVC’s October 23 order but ordered that Verma would discharge only routine functions “without any fresh initiative, having no major policy or institutional implications” till the high-powered selection committee took a decision on Verma’s fate. The PM-headed panel on January 10 okayed Verma’s removal.

Asthana alleged that Verma took Rs 2 crore from one Sathish Babu Sana to shield him in the CBI case against Moin Qureshi and others. The CVC, after a thorough inquiry and Sana’s examination, concluded that there was “no direct evidence on the allegation of payment of bribe of Rs 2 crore to Verma by Sana”, though it has been “established that CBI director (Verma) asked special director (Asthana) as to whether Sana was called for questioning on February 20, 2018, and then told him that he should not be examined”.

“Refusal by the CBI director to approve his (Sana’s) arrest, his making enquiries about presence of Sana on February 20 and asking he should not be examined along with intercepts prima facie establish that the conduct of Verma is circumspect/suspicious,” the CVC concluded and told the SC, “In the light of circumstantial evidence, the entire truth in the said allegation will come out if a thorough criminal investigation is ordered by the SC.”

The CVC also inquired into Asthana’s allegation that Verma had deliberately excluded Rakesh Saxena, then director of IRCTC, from the list of accused persons despite a unanimous recommendation by branch officers and attempted to call off the searches. The IRCTC scam pertained to alleged sale of two acres of prime railway land worth Rs 194 crore at Rs 2 crore in 2005 to Delight Marketing Company Pvt Ltd, whose directors were replaced by family members of Lalu Prasad, who was railway minister in 2005.

The CVC inquiry report said, “It can be reasonably concluded that CBI director Verma deliberately excluded the name of key conspirator Rakesh Saxena, director IRCTC, from the FIR and tried to help him for reasons best known to him. This amounts to serious misconduct and warrants disciplinary and other actions. However, the allegation that Verma tried to call off the searches in Patna is not substantiated.” The CVC also found to be true Asthana’s allegation that Verma attempted to induct two tainted police officers into the CBI.


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