Barely 48 hours after Alok Verma who was reinstated as CBI chief by the Supreme Court was sacked from the post this evening by a high-powered committee at PM Modi’s residence led by him. Over the last 24 hours, Verma had cancelled the transfers of 10 officers and transferred five others.
While scrapping the government’s October order sending Mr Verma on compulsory leave, the Supreme court had ruled that he would not take any policy decision till a committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the leader of the largest opposition party, took a call on his status.
The committee was expected to decide whether the official, whose term ends on January 31, will continue in the post with full powers. They were also expected to pick his successor.
After a meeting of the committee at PM Modi’s residence this evening, a decision was taken to remove him from the post. Sources said Congress’s Mallikarjun Kharge had opposed the idea.
Opposing the move of Modi government, lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan expressed his surprise over Alok’s dismissal. “Breaking! So, a day after he resumed charge as CBI Director, the Committee headed by Modi again transfers out Alok Verma post haste, w/o even hearing him, fearing the prospect of his registering an FIR against Modi in the Rafale scam! Such desperation to prevent any investigation,” he tweeted.
Breaking! So, a day after he resumed charge as CBI Director, the Committee headed by Modi again transfers out Alok Verma post haste, w/o even hearing him, fearing the prospect of his registering an FIR against Modi in the Rafale scam! Such desperation to prevent any investigation
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) January 10, 2019
Verma had approached the Supreme Court after the government sent him and his deputy Rakesh Asthana on leave and appointed an interim chief in a midnight swoop on October 23. Verma’s office was sealed and members of his team were transferred overnight by Nageswar Rao, who took charge as interim chief around 2 am that night.
The Supreme Court’s rejection of that move is a major embarrassment to the government, which has been under opposition attack over allegations of manipulating the CBI and using it as a tool against political rivals.