SC quips after Rakesh Asthana moves court against forced leave

Glen Norman
October 28, 2018

The members of the party raised slogans demanding reinstatement of Alok Verma as CBI Director and also sought an apology from PM Modi for tarnishing the image of the probe agency.

"The CBI ought to be insulated from the government". The checks imposed by the Supreme Court have ensured that the CVC power to inquire into the charges against Verma are supervised by a former judge of the apex court; and that the interim director can not take any policy decisions insofar as the CBI is concerned. "Chowkidar chor hai (Watchman is a thief)", he said in a brief address to a crowd of Congress workers outside the CBI headquarters in Lodhi Road area in south Delhi.

Nariman referred to the CVC and central government's orders divesting Verma of his duty.

The CVC took an overnight decision to divest me completely of the CBI director's role.

The bench granted the CVC two weeks to conclude its probe.

Indian opposition leader and Congress President, Rahul Gandhi, on Friday courted arrest along with top party leaders during a massive protest in New Delhi against the government's move to send country's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Verma on leave.

Interestingly, before being named in the alleged case of bribery, Asthana had filed a complaint against CBI Director Alok Verma accusing him of corruption and irregularities in 10 cases.

As Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the court that the inquiry should not be on the allegation against Verma but also on the allegations raised against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, Chief Justice Gogoi said: "We are only concerned with Verma".

Addressing the gathering of Congress protesters earlier in the day, Gandhi accused Modi of destroying institutions such as the CBI, the Election Commission and the Enforcement Directorate.

Bhushan also urged the court to tag his petition with the one filed by Verma.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has said that India is seeing "turbulent times", which can be traced directly to the "whimsical and bizarre" decisions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Verma states in the petition that Rakesh Asthana had "stymied" several decisions which were crucial to the investigation of these cases.

On Tuesday, the CBI suspended its DSP and an aide of Asthana, Devender Kumar, who was arrested on Monday on the charge of falsification of records while probing allegations against meat exporter Moin Qureshi. Four IB men were caught snooping on Verma hours after he was sent on long leave in what was described as a constitutional coup.

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