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SC to hear Verma plea on Nov 16, CVC report submitted

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) have filed its preliminary probe report relating to CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma in a sealed cover in the Supreme Court.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S.K. Kaul took the report on record and fixed the next hearing on November 16.

During the hearing, interim CBI Director M. Nageswar Rao also filed his report on decisions taken by him from October 23 till date as head of the agency. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that former apex court judge A.K. Patnaik supervised the CVC inquiry which was completed on November 10. The CJI observed that the Registry was open on Sunday also but no intimation was given to the Registrar regarding filing of the report. Later the SG tendered an apology and said though he was not explaining the circumstances there was delay on their part in submitting the report.

Besides issuing notices to the Centre and the CVC on the plea of Verma, the apex court, on October 26, had also set a deadline of two weeks for the CVC to complete the preliminary inquiry against the CBI director.

It had also barred IPS officer M. Nageswara Rao, who has been given interim charge of the CBI, from taking any major decision.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CVC, had said that the CVC has been conducting an inquiry into the allegations made in the August 24 note/letter of the Cabinet Secretary with regard to Verma.

Apart from the plea filed by Verma, the court is also seized of the PIL filed by NGO Common Cause, which has sought a probe by special investigation team against CBI officers including Asthana, and had issued notices to the Centre, CBI, CVC, Asthana, Verma and Rao asking them to respond to it by November 12.

Allegations on Alok Kumar

In his letter, Rakesh Asthana alleged that Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana (who was being investigated by the CBI in the Moin Qureshi case) paid Verma Rs 20 million to get a clean chit in the case. He had again written to the CVC on October 19 — four days after the FIR was registered against him — claiming that he wanted to arrest and interrogate Sana for which a proposal was sent to Verma on September 20, 2018, according to a PTI report.

Asthana claimed Verma held the file for nearly four days and marked to the Director of Prosecution on September 24, 2018, who demanded all evidence available on record, says news report from various sources. Asthana also said that it was the team under him which had opened a lookout circular against Sana who attempted to flee the country but could not because of the pre-emptive action. Asthana claimed that the file was again placed before the Director on October 3 with answers to the queries raised by the DoP but it had not been returned to date, the report said.

On September 14, Asthana informed CVC that Verma had issued an order that day removing him from the IRCTC case, in which RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi Yadav are charged. He alleged Verma had asked him to call off planned raids against Lalu in 2017.

Asthana has accused Alok Kumar of meddling in the INX media, coal scam case. The CBI, however, described Asthana’s allegations as “baseless and frivolous”.

The CVC has informed the government that corruption allegations levelled by Asthana against CBI head Verma were serious and Verma had not cooperated with the CVC.

Congress accuses Modi govt.

On October 25 four Intelligence Bureau officers “found loitering outside” Verma’s official bungalow in Lutyens Delhi were detained by guards at the CBI chief’s house. The Congress accused the Centre resorting to “snooping” on Verma to “cover-up” the Rafale ‘scam’. Later, the Delhi Police denied detaining four men, and the IB said they were at the spot as part of the agency’s standard operating procedure of keeping watch in the high-security zone.

Source: Business Standard


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