Wednesday, February 1, 2023
HomePlugged InMidnight purge in CBI and other stories

Midnight purge in CBI and other stories

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The CBI mess is still hot for the press and today’s dailies have dedicated whole pages to the fallout of the tussle between the investigative agency’s top two officers, Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana.

Making front-page headlines was the central government’s overnight “purge”, which was, according to The Indian Express, an attempt to “ostensibly end the war between the two top CBI officers”. But the government’s decision to divest CBI director Alok Verma of his charge, and the transfer of 14 CBI officers, has given the media plenty of fodder.

“Verma accuses govt of curbing CBI autonomy” reads a headline in Hindustan Times; “Had to ensure fairness, says Jaitley, slams Opp for second-guessing CBI” reads another in The Indian Express; “After surgical strike, knock on SC’s door” reports The Times of India; and The Hindu says “Central Vigilance Commission cites Asthana’s ‘secret note’ against Verma”.

Finally, The Telegraph, succinctly, writes, “CBI purge seen linked to panic over Rafale”.

According to the Kolkata-based newspaper, “The air is so thick with conspiracy theories that there are many takers for suggestions that Verma had been benched because of reported queries with the defence ministry on the Rafale deal and requests for some related papers.”

Former union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, and Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, moved the Supreme Court. “Hinting that the Centre’s decision to ask CBI director Alok Verma, who had received their complaint on October 4, to proceed on leave could impede the probe… The petitioners requested the SC to direct the Centre ‘not to transfer CBI officials tasked with investigation of the offences mentioned in the complaint’,” The Times of India reports.

Meanwhile, court-appointed auditors have caught a whiff of Amrapali’s alleged fund transfer to shell companies through “dubious” means.

“The auditors, who were entrusted with the task of tracking the trail of diversion of over Rs 2,765 crore of homebuyers’ money by conducting forensic audits of all 46 companies of the group, told a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U.U. Lalit that their preliminary investigations revealed that money was diverted to at least 20 shell companies,” The Times of India reports.

In a small corner, the paper also reports on a Supreme Court order that “the birth of a third child would automatically disqualify a person from contesting panchayat polls and from holding the post of a member or sarpanch in a panchayat”. Giving up the third child for adoption won’t change that, the report added.

Prime Time

Was CBI number 2 targeted to bury the truth?

Times Now anchor Navika Kumar discussed – is the opposition deliberately politicising the CBI shakeup. Times Now claimed that CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana was heading a Special Investigation Team which was probing the 9000 crore loan default against Vijay Mallya and was very close to end the Vijay Mallya case as a result of which he was targeted by CBI chief Alok Verma.

Academician Yogendra Yadav did not agree to the claims made by anchor Navika Kumar and left the debate midway. Civil Rights activist Shehzad Poonawalla said that Yadav can only participate in those debates which are pursued by his lobbies.

Yadav said, “ Before you wish to do this great investigative journalism, you might wish to check when Alok Verma was appointed the CBI – I think that was January 2017, and I think Vijay Mallya left the country on March 2016, but you will know better.”

Kumar rebutted, “ Can I have the leeway to break the story on the basis of documents I have access?”

Yadav said, “ Thank you very much, I don’t want to participate in this kind of a joke.”

Poonawalla mentioned, “ Yogendra Yadav wants to go to his friend’s channels which nobody watches which is conducted by his lobbies and attends 9 PM shows there. I request him not to sit here with wrong facts.”

News it’s just kinda cool to know

Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, have found a way to mass-produce human-cell-sized robots known as “syncells”, which can help monitor conditions in a gas or oil pipeline, or to figure out diseases in the bloodstream, PTI reports.

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