Alok Verma divested of his charge as CBI director. Joint director M. Nageshwar Rao to hold top post.
New Delhi: The Modi government has divested CBI director Alok Verma of his charge and given it to joint director M. Nageshwar Rao “with immediate effect”. Verma has been asked to proceed on leave until further orders.
Special director Rakesh Asthana has also been sent on leave.
The latest twist to the unprecedented tussle at the top of the CBI came on Tuesday night, top sources told ThePrint.
According to a notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training, the decision to ask Rao, a 1986-batch IPS officer of the Orissa cadre, to take charge of the top post was taken by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) after another “interim decision” by the ACC with regard to Verma and his deputy Asthana, who has been accused of extortion and corruption by his own agency.
Sources told ThePrint that the ACC decision came after efforts by the government, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, to get Verma to bury the hatchet failed, with Asthana moving the Delhi high court to seek relief from the court.
ThePrint was the first to report that the war between Verma and Asthana had reached the PMO and that it was up to Modi now to douse the fire that was hurting his government’s image.
The Delhi High Court had Tuesday granted temporary relief to Asthana, ordering status quo in the case of corruption against him. The next date of hearing is 29 October.
In his petition, Asthana had questioned the legality of the FIR filed by the CBI against him.
ThePrint had also reported that top echelons of the government were of the opinion that only PM Modi’s intervention could bring an end to the turf war, which had its genesis in an ongoing turf war between National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who was backing Verma, and retired Gujarat cadre IAS officer P.K. Misra, additional principal secretary to PM Modi, who is close to Asthana.