CVC probe against Verma yields ‘nothing substantial’
Govt May Have To Reinstate CBI Director
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