However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tried to blunt the opposition's attack saying the move was based on the CVC's recommendations and underlined that it was absolutely essential to restore the agency's institutional integrity and credibility.
India’s premier investigating agency Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has witnessed an unprecedented series of events which saw its number one and number two-in-command — Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana, respectively — stripped of their duties and sent on leave by the central government. Joint Director M Nageswar Rao was appointed as interim director of CBI with “immediate effect” in a late Tuesday night order by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
Verma, in his plea to the Supreme Court challenging the government’s action against him, stated: “There are bound to be occasions when certain investigations into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the Government”. A full-blown political slugfest has erupted with the Congress-led Opposition claiming that Verma was sent on leave as he was collecting documents relating to the Rafale jet deal. However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tried to blunt the opposition’s attack saying the move was based on the CVC’s recommendations and underlined that it was absolutely essential to restore the agency’s institutional integrity and credibility.
At the time when Verma was shunted out, he was supervising seven cases, according to a report by The Indian Express report. Let’s take a look at the cases that were left unfinished.
Rafale deal case: The high-profile Rafale deal case has become a talking point and Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi have been trying to corner the central government over the issue. CBI is probing a complaint against alleged irregularities in the Rafale fighter deal with France. CBI was going ahead with the verification process of the complaint. Former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan had filed a 132-page complaint and submitted to Verma.
Medical Council of India (MCI) bribery case: Another controversial and much-publicised case which was being monitored by Verma himself. The CBI was looking into the alleged involvement of highly-placed individuals in the case which also implicated retired High Court judge I M Quddusi. The charge sheet has been filed and was awaiting Verma’s signature, as per The Indian Express report.
The case of Justice S N Shukla of Allahabad High Court: Another case involving Allahabad High Court Justice S N Shukla was lying on Verma’s table. Shukla was sent on leave over allegations of corruption in medical admissions. The CBI has prepared preliminary enquiry (PE).
Verma was supervising a case in which BJP MP Subramanian Swamy wrote letters to the CBI, complaining against Finance and Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia.
A key case involving IAS officer Bhaskar Khulbe, Secretary to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is being investigated by the CBI in a case of allocation of coal mines.
The other case is Sandesara and the Sterling Biotech matter which was set to culminate. In this case, Asthana’s role was being probed by CBI.
In the first week of October, a Delhi-based middleman was raided. CBI during its probe found out that an alleged payoff list and Rs 3 crore in cash. The CBI ascertained that the person had a pivotal role in bribing politicians and officials for “senior Public Sector Unit appointments”.