The Centre’s Narendra Modi government is expected to face considerable embarrassment on Monday, when the Supreme Court resumes the hearing of CBI Director Alok Verma’s plea challenging his ‘dismissal.’ This is because the Central Vigilance Commission or the CVC has reportedly found ‘nothing substantial’ in its probe against Verma.
Two weeks ago, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had directed the CVC to complete its probe into the corruption allegations against Verma. The CVC was ordered to submit its report within two weeks as the top court set 12 November for the next hearing.
The central government, in what was widely termed as a midnight constitutional coup, had sent Verma on leave on 23 October along with CBI’s special director, Rakesh Asthana. The Congress had alleged that the unprecedented haste shown in Verma’s ‘dismissal’ was because the CBI director had sought for papers related to the Rafale scam. Just few days before Verma was ordered to go on leave, he had initiated actions against Asthana, believed to be very close to PM Modi, for allegedly accepting Rs 2 crore bribe in exchange of a favourable settlement of case against meat exporter Moin Qureshi.
One of the reasons cited by the government to justify its leave order for Verma was that there were corruption allegations against the CBI director. During its last hearing, the Supreme Court had appointed former Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik to monitor the CVC probe against Verma.
A report by Times of India said that the CVc completed its preliminary inquiry on Friday and the agency will submit its report before the Supreme Court on Monday. Quoting sources, the TOI reported that the CVC report narrated scrutiny of various documents submitted by Asthana, along with his 24 August complaint and examination of Verma and others, before reaching an inference that there was ‘nothing substantial’ in the allegations made against the CBI chie. The inquiry was conducted by CVC KV Chowdary and vigilance commissioners Sharad Kumar and TM Bhasin.
After relinquishing verma from his role as the CBI director, the central government had appointed M Nageshwar Rao, a controversial officer already facing serious corruption allegations. But the Supreme Court on 26 October had made it clear that Rao will not take any policy decisions. The top court had also clarified that all decisions taken by Rao since being given the charge will be given to court in sealed cover on 12 November.