CBI director Alok Verma has been removed from his post after a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi met for over two hours on Thursday to decide his fate, making him the first chief in the history of the agency to face such action.
The committee said he “had not acted with the integrity expected of him”. Mr Verma lost his high-profile job just weeks before his retirement on January 31. The decision was two against one: PM Modi and Justice AK Sikri — representing Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi who had recused himself from the panel — favoured Mr Verma’s removal. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, representing the opposition, put up a dissenting note.
Additional director M Nageshwar Rao has been given interim charge of CBI chief till the appointment of a new director. Verma has been posted as Director General Fire Service, Civil Defence and Home Guards.
“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,” Congress tweeted.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Fear is now rampaging through Mr Modi’s mind. He can’t sleep. He stole 30,000Cr from the IAF and gave it to Anil Ambani. Sacking the CBI Chief #AlokVerma twice in a row, clearly shows that he is now a prisoner of his own lies.”
On January 8, the Supreme Court had overruled the Centre’s decision to send Verma on leave last October. The SC bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the government should have placed the matter before the selection committee for consideration. The court said this should be done now, within ten days of the judgement.
Verma took over as the CBI director on Wednesday morning. Within hours, he revoked the transfer orders of officers who had been moved out after his ouster.