CVC accuses CBI's Alok Verma of wilful obstruction in its functioning

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New Delhi : The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) accused CBI Director Alok Verma, who was divested of his charge on Wednesday, of non-cooperation in producing records and files sought by it on allegations against him and that his "wilful obstruction in the functioning of the Commission is established."

In its eight-page order issued on Tuesday, the CVC has talked about the forwarded complaint it received from the Cabinet Secretary on August 24 this year about allegations including "serious allegations regarding functioning of CBI Director."

It lists three allegations that are "serious in nature having prima-facie vigilance angle which need to be examined quickly by seeking records from the CBI."

An allegation pertains to "payment of Rs 2 crore as bribe by Satish Babu Sana to Director CBI to avoid further interrogation in a case related to Moin Qureshi and others."

Another allegation is about "alleged interference and efforts of Director CBI to exclude one of the main suspects namely Rakesh Saxena" in a 2017 case related to IRCTC.

"It is also alleged that instructions were passed by Director CBI to Joint Director CBI Vineet Vinayak for not conducting search at the premises of Lalu Yadav. It is alleged that later, Director CBI was persuaded by the concerned officials in view of the extant court order, and Vinayak was allowed by the Director CBI at the last moment to take flight by a private Airline to conduct the search in the premises of Lalu Yadav," the order said.

The order lists efforts made by CVC to get records relating to the two cases and notes that these had not been submitted.

It also noted that report on a secret note had not been received even after a lapse of 10 months despite reminders.

"It may be observed that Director CBI has not been cooperating in making available the records/files sought by the Commission relating to certain serious allegations...In view of the non-cooperation and non-compliance, the commission is not able to discharge its function," the anti-corruption watchdog said.

The order said the CBI on September 18, 2018 referred to the "secret note" regarding CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana and informed the Commission that the concern on the integrity of the officer turned out to be true and also stated that it has found evidence of his criminal misconduct in at least half a dozen cases and the officer is aware of possession of evidence of his criminal misconduct by the Bureau.

The order said that the CBI requested that complaint of Asthana should be viewed as a desperate attempt by a tainted officer to intimidate the officers of the various ranks in CBI and such complaint may not be entertained.

The complaint was made by Asthana but the order does not reveal his identity and notes that 'it is presumptive on the part of CBI to state that a particular person has made complaint."

"The content of allegations made in the complaint is more important than the identity of complainant,' it said.

The order also said that Asthana had made several oral and written representations from time to time alleging that Verma is prejudiced and biased against him and trying to implicate him in certain cases and requested that in the interest of justice and fairplay, a Special Investigation Team consisting of officers other than Verma and A.K. Sharma Joint Director (P) be constituted.

The order said that an environment of hostility and factional feud had reached its peak in CBI, leading to potential loss of reputation and credibility. "The grave allegations of corruption by senior functionaries against one another have also vitiated working environment in the organisation which has deep and visible impact on other officers.'

The CVC said the order had been passed keeping in view the "extraordinary and emergent situation."

Another order was issued by the Department of Personnel and Training on Tuesday, divesting Asthana of "functions, powers, duties and supervisory role in any manner."
The DoPT order said that recent developments emerging from actions of Verma and Asthana have been under close examination of the central government.

It noted that the CVC has undertaken an inquiry into specified issues and is committed to staying neutral, independent and uninfluenced from anyone.

The order also talks of the central government invoking its powers due to "extraordinary and unprecedented situation."