Alok Verma removed as CBI chief, opposition attacks government

New Delhi: A day after he resumed duties, CBI Director Alok Verma (pictured) was on Thursday unceremoniously removed from the post after a 2-1 decision by the high-level Selection Committee, a decision that came under attack from the opposition and legal experts.
The decision of the committee came after CJI nominee Justice AK Sikri of the Supreme Court sided with the government that Verma should be shunted out of the post on the basis of the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), which went into some allegations levelled against him.
The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Justice Sikri and Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, the other member of the committee, who gave a dissent note and opposed the majority decision.
Shortly after the meeting, Verma was appointed Director General, Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guard till January 31 when his tenure would end. The government also brought back M Nageswara Rao, Additional Director, CBI to look after the duties of the Director, CBI till the appointment of a new director or until further orders, whichever is earlier, a notification by the Appointment Committee of Cabinet said.
Verma, who was removed from the agency’s helm on the midnight of October 23 after his fight with Special Director Rakesh Asthana became public, was reinstated on Tuesday by the apex court on the ground that the government cannot transfer or alter the duties of the CBI chief without going to the Selection Committee.
Meanwhile, the removal of Verma as CBI Director came under severe attack from opposition parties and legal experts saying it was the “desperation” of the government as Modi does not want any probe into the Rafale jet deal.
The critics of the decision also asked how the committee could take a decision without hearing Verma.
The Congress criticised the committee’s decision and said
Modi had shown that he was “too afraid” of an investigation into the Rafale deal.
“By removing Alok Verma from his position without giving him the chance to present his case, PM Modi has shown once again that he’s too afraid of an investigation, either by an independent CBI Director or by Parliament via JPC,” the Congress tweeted.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said if it was a majority decision to remove Verma, then it was unfortunate.
“I don’t know why Verma was not asked to reply to the charges against him. I have very poor opinion of the CVC,” he said. — IANS