What CVC said in its re­port on ousted CBI chief Verma

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Nation - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com ▪

NEWDELHI: The Cen­tral Vig­i­lance Com­mis­sion’s (CVC’s) Novem­ber re­port to the Supreme Court on al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion against ousted Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI) di­rec­tor Alok Verma is a mixed bag. CVC’s in­quiry “sub­stan­ti­ated” four charges against Verma even as it found an­other three charges “un­sub­stan­ti­ated”. One al­le­ga­tion was partly “sub­stan­ti­ated”, and it could not com­plete the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in one of the cases be­cause of “paucity of time”.

An in­ternecine fight be­tween Verma and his deputy, Rakesh Asthana, has rocked the agency over the past few months. On the in­ter­ven­ing night of Oc­to­ber 23 and 24, the gov­ern­ment di­vested both of their pow­ers and sent them on forced leave. Verma chal­lenged his re­moval in the top court, which on Tues­day or­dered his con­di­tional re­in­state­ment. On Thurs­day, a se­lec­tion com­mit­tee, com­pris­ing Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, the Chief Jus­tice of In­dia’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive jus­tice AK Sikri, and the leader of the sin­gle largest op­po­si­tion party in the Lok Sabha, Mal­likar­jun Kharge, met. In a 2:1 de­ci­sion (Kharge dis­sented), the panel trans­ferred the CBI di­rec­tor out of the agency.

The key CVC re­port on Verma, which is at the heart of the case, found some al­le­ga­tions “sub­stan­ti­ated” and rec­om­mended fur­ther in­quiry. A few al­le­ga­tions turned out to be in­cor­rect. Here’s a look at some of the charges and the find­ings:

1) While CVC found “no di­rect ev­i­dence” to sug­gest that Verma was bribed by Hyderabad-based busi­ness­man Sana Satish Babu, it rec­om­mended a probe to ver­ify

“cir­cum­stan­tial” ev­i­dence. CVC noted that Verma over­ruled the ar­rest of Babu de­spite rec­om­men­da­tions to the con­trary by the of­fi­cials han­dling the case. One of the main lines of the probe was Asthana’s al­le­ga­tion that Verma ac­cepted ₹2 crore from Babu to en­sure he wasn’t in­dicted in a case against con­tro­ver­sial meat ex­porter Moin Qureshi.

2) The CVC in­quiry also found that Verma de­lib­er­ately ex­cluded the name of a key ac­cused in an IRCTC cor­rup­tion case. There are al­le­ga­tions that con­di­tions for ten­der to build a ho­tel were changed to en­sure that a cer­tain com­pany could qual­ify and bid for the con­tract. But al­le­ga­tions that Verma tried to call off searches on the Patna premises linked to ac­cused in the case turned out to be in­cor­rect.

3) The CVC in­quiry into whether an of­fi­cer of the En­force­ment Direc­torate (ED), who was al­legedly de­mand­ing money from a lawyer to in­flu­ence Verma, was tipped off about him be­ing un­der sur­veil­lance was “not con­clu­sive”. It notes as men­tioned in the com­plaint, that of­fi­cers han­dling the case were abruptly trans­ferred proved to be cor­rect. ED probes fi­nan­cial crimes.

4) CVC found al­le­ga­tions of Verma try­ing to re­cruit at least two tainted of­fi­cers in CBI to be cor­rect. CVC ob­served that ex­pla­na­tions of­fered by Verma were not con­vinc­ing.

5) The al­le­ga­tion that Verma tried to help a cat­tle smug­gler who was booked by CBI was found to be in­cor­rect.

6) The al­le­ga­tion that Verma, as the Delhi Po­lice com­mis­sioner, had tried to help a man smug­gle in 500 gold coins was found to be in­cor­rect. Asthana had al­leged that in­quiry needs to be done to es­tab­lish who helped the man. CVC said its find­ings didn’t show any in­volve­ment of Verma, but pointed out to a let­ter from CBI to Delhi Po­lice that asked for records of the bust and also re­quested that the let­ter be de­stroyed. CVC asked for a fresh in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

7) The al­le­ga­tion that in­tel­li­gence about two busi­ness­men — wanted by CBI and ED — try­ing to flee In­dia was de­lib­er­ately ig­nored Verma turned out to be in­cor­rect. The two are sus­pected to be in­volved in the coal block al­lo­ca­tion case and the 2G spec­trum case.

8) CVC could not ver­ify the al­le­ga­tion whether or not Verma and one of his deputies re­ceived bribes in a land ac­qui­si­tion case in Haryana that was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by CBI.

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