CVC probe against Verma yields ‘noth­ing sub­stan­tial’

Govt May Have To Re­in­state CBI Di­rec­tor

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - FRONT PAGE - Dhanan­jay.Ma­ha­p­a­tra @times­group.com

New Delhi: The Cen­tral Vig­i­lance Com­mis­sion in­quiry into the Rs 2 crore bribe al­le­ga­tions against CBI di­rec­tor Alok Verma has found “noth­ing sub­stan­tial”, sources said. The probe against Verma, who was sent on leave on Oc­to­ber 23 along with CBI spe­cial di­rec­tor Rakesh Asthana, was su­per­vised by for­mer Supreme Court judge A K Pat­naik.

An SC bench headed by CJI Ran­jan Go­goi had en­trusted Jus­tice Pat­naik with the task of su­per­vis­ing the CVC in­quiry or­dered by the gov­ern­ment af­ter the Ver­maAsthana feud spilled into the pub­lic do­main with both lev­el­ling cor­rup­tion charges against each other.

The Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion reg­is­tered an FIR against Asthana on Oc­to­ber 15 while the of­fi­cer had writ- Alok Verma ten to the cab­i­net sec­re­tary against Verma on Au­gust 24.

The cab­i­net sec­re­tary had for­warded Asthana’s com­plaint to the CVC re­gard­ing al­le­ga­tions of a Rs 2 crore bribe be­ing paid to Verma by Hy­der­abad-based busi­ness­man Sathish Babu Sana, a co-ac­cused in mul­ti­ple cases un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion against ex­porter Moin Qureshi.

A re­port on the pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry, which was com­pleted on Fri­day, is be­ing fi­nalised and will be sub­mit­ted on Mon­day be­fore the Chief Jus­tice-led bench. meat

Ac­cord­ing to sources, it nar­rates scru­tiny of var­i­ous doc­u­ments sub­mit­ted by Asthana, along with his Au­gust 24 com­plaint and ex­am­i­na­tion of Verma and oth­ers, be­fore reach­ing an in­fer­ence that there is “noth­ing sub­stan­tial” in the al­le­ga­tions made against the CBI chief, sources told TOI. The in­quiry, su­per­vised by the re­tired SC judge, is be­ing con­ducted by CVC K V Chowdary and vig­i­lance com­mis­sion­ers Sharad Ku­mar and TM Bhasin.

Nearly two months af­ter Asthana’s com­plaint, CBI filed an FIR against Asthana, CBI DSP Deven­der Ku­mar and Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad on Oc­to­ber 15 based on Sana’s Oc­to­ber 4 com­plaint that over Rs 3 crore had been ex­torted from him by Prasads “in the name of Rakesh Asthana” to end his “ha­rass­ment” in Qureshi cases. Sana fig­ures in both sets of al­le­ga­tions. On Oc­to­ber 26, the SC — on a pe­ti­tion filed by Verma, who chal­lenged Cen­tre’s de­ci­sion say­ing he could not have been dis­lodged from di­rec­tor’s post with­out prior per­mis­sion from se­lect com­mit­tee com­pris­ing PM, CJI and the leader of the op­po­si­tion — had asked Jus­tice Pat­naik to su­per­vise the CVC in­quiry against Verma.

Sources said Verma had jus­ti­fied reg­is­tra­tion of an FIR on Oc­to­ber 15 be­fore the CVC in­quiry panel cit­ing Sana’s state­ment. He stuck to the con­tents of Sana’s state­ment, recorded on Oc­to­ber 20 be­fore Saket mahila court mag­is­trate Shee­tal Chaud­hary Prad­han. Sana also told the SC in his ap­pli­ca­tion seek­ing po­lice pro­tec­tion that his state­ment was also recorded by the CBI on Oc­to­ber 20 un­der Sec­tion 161 of the CrPC. Two days later, CBI ar­rested DSP Deven­der Ku­mar and Asthana moved the Delhi HC fear­ing ar­rest. A day later, the Cen­tre asked both Verma and Asthana to go on leave.

Asked whether al­le­ga­tions made against Asthana were found prima fa­cie true, sources said CVC in­quiry had one man­date — to ex­am­ine al­le­ga­tions against Verma — and it found there is “noth­ing sub­stan­tial” against the CBI di­rec­tor. This find­ing may be­come ground for Verma to re­oc­cupy CBI top post if the SC is sat­is­fied with all as­pects of the probe.

Scru­tiny of doc­u­ments sub­mit­ted by Asthana, his Au­gust 24 com­plaint, and ex­am­i­na­tion of Alok Verma (in pic) re­vealed there is ‘noth­ing sub­stan­tial’ in the al­le­ga­tions

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