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Govt Divests Alok Verma Of CBI Director's Charge, Appoints Nageshwar Rao As Interim Chief

Nageshwar Rao, a 1986 batch Indian Police Service officer of the Orissa cadre, hails from Telangana's Warangal district.

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Govt Divests Alok Verma Of CBI Director's Charge, Appoints Nageshwar Rao As Interim Chief
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Govt Divests Alok Verma Of CBI Director's Charge, Appoints Nageshwar Rao As Interim Chief
outlookindia.com
2018-10-24T14:50:26+05:30

In a late-night order, the government on Wednesday divested Central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI) chief Alok Verma of his charge and Joint Director M. Nageshwar Rao was asked to take charge as interim chief.

The development comes hours after Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana were sent on leave. According to the media reports, the offices of both Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana have also been sealed.

"The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved that during the period of the subsistence of the aforesaid interim measure, cited in reference above, Shri M Nageshwar Rao, IPS, presently working as Joint Director, CBI shall look after duties and functions of Director CBI and shall take over the duties and functions with immediate effect," the ministry of DoPT said in an order issued last night. 

Rao, a 1986 batch Indian Police Service officer of the Odisha cadre, hails from Telangana's Warangal district. Verma had joined the IPS in 1979 at age 22 and was allotted to the AGMUT (Arunachal, Goa, Mizoram, UTs) cadre.

On Tuesday the Delhi High Court sought that Asthana, who was named in a corruption case, cannot be arrested till Monday when his petition against the case will be heard again.

The court has also ordered the CBI to maintain status quo. The court asked Asthana to “preserve” all his electronic devices at the CBI’s request which had expressed concern about erasing evidence.

Asthana was booked on Monday for accepting bribe to settle a case against meat exporter Moin Qureshi, who is facing multiple cases of money laundering and corruption.

The country's top probe agency alleged that bribes were taken at least five times in December 2017 and October 2018. 

The CBI said it has got statement of Satish Sana recorded under Section 164 CrPC twice on October 4 and October 20, which completely "corroborates" allegation against Asthana and others.

The CBI on Tuesday also suspended its Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, who was arrested on Monday on the charge of falsification of records while probing allegations againstQureshi.

Kumar is an Investigating Officer in a case against Qureshi, who is facing multiple cases of money laundering and corruption. A trial court on Tuesday sent Kumar to CBI custody for seven days.

Case History: 

Asthana, a 1984 batch Indian Police Service officer of Gujarat cadre, is accused of accepting a bribe of Rs 2 crore from a businessman who was under probe in the Qureshi case in order to "wreck" the investigation. The case was being examined by a special investigation team (SIT) headed by Asthana.

Sources said the CBI lodged the FIR earlier this week after the arrest of a middleman Manoj, who has given a confessional statement before a magistrate confirming the payment of Rs 2 crore to Asthana.

Manoj has reportedly admitted that he had paid the bribe on behalf of Qureshi, who is being probed by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of money laundering for a host of public servants. Qureshi was arrested by the ED in August last year under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Besides Asthana, the agency had also booked Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, and Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad, the purported middlemen, and other unknown officials.

They had been booked under Section 7 (public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act) and Section 13 (2) read with Section 13(1)(d) (criminal misconduct) of Prevention of Corruption Act.

They had been slapped with the amended Section 7-A of the Prevention Corruption Act (taking undue advantage to influence public servant by corrupt or illegal means or by exercise of personal influence).

The CBI informed that under these sections, no prior permission under Section 17 of the Prevention of Corruption Amendment Act is needed from the government to initiate probe against an officer.

The FIR was registered by the Anti-corruption unit of the CBI based on claims made in the complaint given by Sathish Babu Sana, Hyderabad-based businessman, who had narrated his meetings with various middlemen in New Delhi as well as Dubai before a magistrate.

He had alleged that an investment banker Manoj Prasad had assured him that he would get relief from CBI summons if he agrees to pay Rs 5 crore as bribe, the complaint, now part of FIR, alleged.

Sana had also alleged that he was assured by Prasad that his brother Somesh manages investments of Asthana in London and he is in touch with two other senior officers of various agencies.

The Hyderabad-based businessman had recorded a statement under Section 164 of criminal procedure code before a magistrate on October 4 and October 16.

The rift came out in the open once again when the CBI Director objected to the CVC calling Asthana as the CBI's representative for a meeting when the former was abroad on an official trip.


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