Govt appoints Nageshwar Rao as interim CBI chief

Posted October 25, 2018

The CBI chief had earlier been sent "on leave".

On October 15, the day CBI booked Mr. Asthana and Mr. Sana for alleged corruption, the CVC had also shot off a letter to the Director conveying the apprehensions of Mr. Asthana of "bias and prejudice" in case of an investigation against him. "The CBI was going to start an inquiry and therefore the prime minister got scared and removed the CBI chief at 1 am in the night", he alleged.

The NGO has sought relief including court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into allegations of corruption against CBI officials including Asthana, who along with CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma had been divested of powers and sent on leave.

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Jaitley said on Wednesday that the government's decision to remove the CBI's two top officers was based on the Central Vigilance Commission's (CVC) recommendations. The CVC, which is headed by KV Chowdary, has superintendence over the CBI in cases of corruption.

Gandhi also repeated the charge against the government over Verma's removal at a poll rally in Rajasthan. "Moreover, it also is in gross violation of the Supreme Court judgment in the Vineet Narain case wherein a tenure of a minimum of two years was fixed for the CBI director", said Singhvi citing the 1997 verdict. The court has also ordered CBI to "maintain status quo" with regards to this issue, with Justice Najmi Waziri stating that the "petitioner is before court now".

The clash in CBI assumed greater significance when it was reported that officials in the PMO may have been wary of the fact that Verma wanted an investigation on the Rafale deal.

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- The Supreme Court has stated repeatedly that the CBI ought to be insulated from the government.

Asthana was also probing the INX Media case, allegedly involving former Union minister P. Chidambaram, as well as the IRCTC tender issuance case involving former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.

When the petition was mentioned before the CJI Ranjan Gogoi today morning by Advocate Prashant Bhushan for urgent listing, the CJI said "file memo, we will look into it".

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