CBI Director Alok Verma challenges ouster in SC

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While Modi government has been blamed for the current mess in the Central Bureau of Intelligence (CBI) and now highhandedness, it is being widely apprehended that Judge Loya's fate could be awaiting ousted CBI director, Alok Verma. Both the parties interestingly thought that the SC order vindicated their standpoints on the war within the CBI.

In a dramatic midnight action, the government on Tuesday divested CBI chief Verma of his charge and made Joint Director M. Nageshwar Rao the interim director.

The CVC took an overnight decision to divest me completely of the CBI director's role. The rule, he said, was put in place to ensure independent functioning of the agency.

At this juncture, senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for CBI's special director Rakesh Asthana, who has also been send on leave by the government, said they have also filed a separate petition in the apex court in the matter. The pair have accused each other of taking bribes.

Nearly a year before that, another bench of the Supreme Court had come down heavily on the CBI while hearing a coal scam case and had said the probe agency had become a "caged parrot" speaking in the voice of its political masters. Four IB men were caught snooping on Verma hours after he was sent on long leave in what was described as a constitutional coup. The Modi government will anxiously await the order of the Supreme Court tomorrow.

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Gandhi, who led the almost one-kilometre protest march of hundreds of Congress workers from Dala Singh College to the CBI headquarters in the national capital, also tweeted pictures of the protest march and him sitting at the Lodhi Road police station and said, "No matter how hard the government tries, it will not be able to cage the truth".

The government suspended Verma and his second-in-command Rakesh Asthana on Wednesday, pending an inquiry. He submitted that the CBI director was appointed with the approval of a selection panel, comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India.

Nariman started his arguments by referring to the apex court's 1997 Vineet Narain judgement, which relates to probe of allegations of corruption against high-ranking public officials in India, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act 2003 and amendments in the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act.

The judges have set a two-week deadline for the CVC to complete the probe against Verma which would be conducted under the supervision of a retired judge of the top court, A K Patnaik.

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