CBI chief sacked by Modi-led panel, quits police force
Alok Verma, who was sacked as chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation, refused to head fire services and has resigned from the Indian police
In a drastic turn of events, Alok Verma, the former chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has refused to take over duties as the head of fire services and home guards.
The CBI is the equivalent of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and is the premier anti-corruption body in India.
In his resignation from the Indian Police Services, Verma said: “The Selection Committee has not provided the undersigned an opportunity to explain the details as recorded by the CVC [Central Vigilance Commission] before arriving at the decision. Natural justice was scuttled and the entire process was turned upside down in ensuring that the undersigned is removed from the post of the Director CBI.”
He further stated: “The decisions made yesterday will not just be a reflection on my functioning but will become a testimony on how the CBI as an institution will be treated by any government through the CVC, who is appointed by majority members of the ruling government. This is a moment for collective introspection, to state the least.”
The government removed Verma last October after an ugly tussle broke out between him and his deputy, Rakesh Asthana. Verma had filed a complaint against Asthana accusing him of bribery. The name of another senior intelligence official, Samant Goel, also cropped up in the investigation. After, both Verma and Asthana were sent on leave.
Verma immediately asked the Supreme Court to reinstate him as CBI chief. Two and a half months later, the Supreme Court did that, but asked the select committee to take the final decision on his status. This is a high-powered panel comprised of the prime minister, the Chief Justice of India, and the leader of the opposition.
The haste with which Verma was sacked posed serious questions. Some claimed that Verma was about to order an inquiry into the Modi government’s Rafale deal with France.
A deal to buy 36 Rafale jets from France was announced in January 2016. But the multi-billion-dollar agreement has stirred a storm of controversy with the opposition Congress party claiming the Modi government “favored” an Indian company that is part of the deal.
But even with Verma removed from the police, these claims have hurt the PM’s promise to minimize corruption in India.