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Panel headed by PM Modi meets again to consider charges against CBI chief

Press Trust of India/New Delhi 10 Jan 19 | 06:49 PM

Alok Verma

A committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Thursday to consider the Central Vigilance Commission's (CVC) investigation of corruption charges against CBI director Alok Verma after an inconclusive meeting on Wednesday.

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The other members of the committee included Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress party’s leader in the Lok Sabha, and Justice A K Sikri, who was nominated by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to represent him.

Verma was reinstated by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, two months after the government sent him and his deputy Rakesh Asthana on forced leave for fighting like "kilkenny cats". The two CBI officers had accused each other of corruption.

Verma, who resumed office on Wednesday, had revoked most of the transfers done by M Nageshwar Rao, who was appointed as the interim CBI chief in his absence.

Ahead of the meeting, Kharge said he has sought documents, including enquiry report by the Central Vigilance Commission into the matter. "I have asked for certain documents from the government concerning the matter including the CVC's enquiry reports," he told reporters on Thursday.

He said that Verma should also be given an opportunity to appear before the committee and represent his case.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi also attacked the government ahead of the crucial meeting and said Modi is in a "tearing hurry" to "sack" CBI chief Alok Verma because of the Rafale deal.

"1. Why is the PM in such a tearing hurry to sack the CBI Chief? "2. Why will he not allow the CBI Chief to present his case in front of the selection committee ? Answer: RAFALE," Gandhi said on Twitter.

The top court had asked the government to convene the meeting within a week of its order. It had quashed the government's unprecedented "overnight" order issued in October last year, stripping Verma of his powers and sending him on leave after he and his deputy traded corruption charges, sparking a bitter feud.

The court, while reinstating Verma, however, made it clear that he will desist from taking any major policy decision till a high-powered committee considers the issue of "divestment of power and authority".

Verma's two-year fixed tenure as CBI director ends on January 31. 

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