Alok Verma Cancels Transfer Order Taken By Interim Chief M Nageshwar Rao

Alok Verma Cancels Transfer Order Taken By  Interim Chief M Nageshwar Rao

Alok Verma Cancels Transfer Order Taken By  Interim Chief M Nageshwar Rao 

New Delhi: After nearly three months, the CBI Chief Alok Verma returned to his office on Wednesday and cancelled most of the transfers ordered by M Nageshwar Rao, who was posted as interim chief in his absence.

The interim chief Mr Rao had signed off on the transfer of 10 officers on Alok Verma's team, including those probing a corruption case against the agency's No. 2 Rakesh Asthana like AK Bassi, MK Sinha and AK Sharma.

On Tuesday, Alok Verma was reinstated as CBI boss by the Top Court, which scrapped an October government order divesting him of his powers and sending him on leave. 

The Supreme Court while restoring him said that Mr Verma cannot take any major policy decisions until a high-powered select committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India meet and decide on his status. The committee, which met today and will meet again on Thursday, has to give its report within a week.

According to the sources, Mr Alok Verma can still file First Information Report (FIRs) and sign off on transfers; they argue that interim chief Nageswara Rao also discharged these functions after being ordered by the top court to steer clear of major policy decisions.

The CBI cheif had challenged the order of the government and argued that the CBI chief has a fixed two-year term and can be removed only by the high-powered committee.

Alok Verma's term ends on January 31.

The ruling of the Supreme Court was perceived as a huge setback for the BJP-led government, which has been accused by the opposition of manipulating the CBI and misusing it to target rivals.

In October, Mr Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana were sent on leave, as they accused each other of corruption in a case being investigated by the agency. Mr Asthana remains on forced leave.

In the Cour, the centre had justified its move by saying that it had no option but to send both officers on leave to protect CBI's integrity and image, since they were fighting like "Kilkenny cats". The Central Vigilance Commission, which had recommended sending away the CBI boss, said "extraordinary situations need extraordinary remedies."

Mr Verma was asked by the Top Court to respond to a vigilance report on him based on Mr Asthana's accusations. Mr Verma was accused by Mr Asthana of taking bribe from a Hyderabad-based businessman being investigated by the agency. Mr Asthana was accused by Mr Verma of the same crime.