CBI chief Alok Verma, his deputy Rakesh Asthana meet CVC over graft probe

CBI chief Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana met CVC KV Chowdary on Thursday.

CBI chief Alok Verma, his deputy Rakesh Asthana meet CVC over graft probe

NEW DELHI: Days after they were sent on forced leave by the Central government over alleged infighting in the central probe agency, its Director Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana met Central Vigilance Commissioner KV Chowdary on Thursday.

During their meeting with the CVC, the two top top-ranking CBI officials – CBI Chief Alok Verma and Special Director Rakes h Asthana - reportedly gave their views on an ongoing probe into corruption charges against them.

According to sources, both Verma and Asthana reached the Central Vigilance Commission office around 1 PM and stayed there for about an hour.

They met Chowdary and Vigilance Commissioner Sharad Kumar, news agency PTI quoted officials as saying, without citing any other details.

On October 26, the Supreme Court had asked the Central Vigilance Commission to complete within two weeks its inquiry into allegations against Verma levelled by Asthana. Former SC judge AK Patnaik was asked to oversee the CVC inquiry.

The Centre and the CBI need to submit their findings in the matter in 10 days to the CVC, said the three-judge bench comprising of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi posted the next date of hearing on November 12.

Verma's lawyer Fali Nariman had argued that the 'order passed by the CVC and the Union Government to send his client on leave was without any authority under the law.' 

The SC then issued notices to the Central Vigilance Commission and the Centre, asking them for their replies in the matter.

The Opposition hailed the SC order.

The top court passed the order while responding to Verma's plea who had sought an urgent hearing after being sent on leave after his feud with CBI second-in-command Rakesh Asthana went public. 

Asthana too moved the Supreme Court over the enforced leave.

In an unprecedented development, the Prime Minister-led Appointments Committee sent the top three CBI bosses - Director Alok Verma, Special Director Rakesh Asthana and Additional Director AK Sharma - on leave. 

It also appointed M Nageshwar Rao as the interim head of the investigative agency.

Immediately after taking the mantle, Rao sent transferred top CBI officers investigating sensitive cases. Verma later approached the Supreme Court challenging the decision. 

The feud between Verma and Asthana had escalated after both accused each other or bribery and hampering probes.

Last week, an FIR against Asthana and Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar was registered in an alleged bribery case. The FIR was lodged on a written complaint of Satish Babu Sana on October 15. It alleged that Kumar, the investigating officer in a case, was repeatedly calling him to the CBI office to harass and compel him to pay a bribe of Rs 5 crore for giving him a clean chit. He also falsified official records.

Kumar is currently in the CBI custody.

Asthana and Kumar both challenged their FIR in the Delhi High Court, which on Tuesday ordered CBI to maintain status quo on the criminal proceedings against Asthana.

The Opposition came down heavily on the internal tussle at the CBI, holding the Narendra Modi government responsible for the entire mess and denting the central probe agency's credibility.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi also raked up the Rafale probe angle behind the Centre's action against Verma.

(Wih Agency Inputs )

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