CBI vs CBI case: Timeline of feud in premier investigation agency
New Delhi, Jan 8: The Supreme Court has reinstated Alok Verma as the CBI chief. The verdict said that he be reinstated but also added that Verma cannot take any major policy decision till the decision of the selection committee.
On January 19, 2017, the government appointed Alok Verma (then Delhi Police Commissioner) as director of CBI. His name was cleared by a three-member selection panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprising Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar and Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge as members. Kharge is understood to have recorded his dissent note on Verma's name on the ground that the officer had never served in CBI.
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On September 20, 2018, The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) initiated a fact-finding probe against CBI Director Alok Verma based on a complaint filed by Rakesh Asthana. In his complaint, Asthana alleged that Verma has sought to impede his functioning, interfere in investigations and malign his reputation on the basis of unverified facts. Asthana also claimed that Verma had asked him to call off the planned raids against RJD supremo Lalu Prasad in Patna last year at the eleventh hour when raiding teams were already in place. According to the ET report, the Asthana's complaint against Verma was first made to the government, which then referred the matter to the CVC after detailed consultations.
September 21, 2018: CBI said Rakesh Asthana's complaint to the CVC against its chief Alok Verma is "malicious" and "frivolous". It termed complaint against CBI chief by Asthana as 'intimidation' of the officers probing the former's role in at least six cases.
September 24, 2018: Alok Verma, senior CBI official met Central Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdary and submitted some documents in the matter.
October 4, 2018: Lawyer Prashant Bhushan and former Union minister Arun Shourie met CBI Director Alok Verma, demanding a probe into alleged corruption in the Rafale aircraft deal and offset contract.
Along with a "detailed" complaint under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Bhushan and Shourie submitted documents buttressing their argument for the need of probe.
October 9, 2018: Reports claimed that the government was 'unhappy' with CBI Director meeting Arun Shourie, Prashant Bhushan. In their meeting, Shourie, a vocal critic of the Modi government, and Bhushan, a former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, had asked the CBI Director to take the government's permission to initiate a probe in accordance with the law, alleging that the offset contract for Rafale aircraft was actually a commission to an Anil Ambani-led Reliance group subsidiary.
October 16, 2018: The CBI arrested Manoj Prasad, believed to be a middleman, when he returned from Dubai on October 16.
October 21, 2018: Rakesh Asthana 'booked' in bribery case: CBI booked Asthana on the allegations of receiving bribe from an accused probed by him in a case linked to meat exporter Moin Qureshi - a charge levelled by the officer on CBI Director Alok Verma in his complaint to the Cabinet Secretary.
October 22, 2018: CBI arrests deputy SP Devender Kumar in bribery case involving Asthana. AccordQureshithe CBI, Kumar had fabricated the statement of Sathish Sana, a witness in the Quershi case, showing he recorded the statement on Septemebr 26, 2018 in Delhi. However, investigation has revealed that Sana was was not in Delhi, he was in Hyderabad on that day and joined the investigation only on October 1, 2018.
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October 22: PM Modi summoned Alok Verma and Asthana. According to reports the two officials have been told to make amends as the image of the organisation has taken a beating in the public eye, a point opposition parties made in their criticism.
October 23: Rakesh Asthana moved Delhi HC on FIR against him in bribery case. CBI DSP Devender Kumar sent to 7-day police custody. CBI claimed in court that an 'extortion' racket was being run from the HQ in the garb of investigation.
October 23: Asthana gets interim protection from arrest till October 29.
October 24: CBI Director Alok Verma, Special Director Rakesh Asthana sent on leave. M Nageshwar Rao appointed interim CBI director with immediate effect.
October 24: CBI reshuffles team probing case against Asthana. Alok Verma moves Supreme Court against govt order.
October 24: Opposition slammed government for sending Alok Verma on leave. Rahul Gandhi said by sending Verma on "forced leave" for collecting documents on the Rafale "scam", Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given out a clear message that anyone coming close to unravelling the truth behind the defence deal will be "wiped out".
October 25: Four men belonging to the Intelligence Bureau were caught outside the official residence of CBI director Alok Verma, who has been divested of his powers and sent on leave, officials said. While Home Ministry officials said the four men were on "routine, covert" duties in the high security area outside Verma's 2 Janpath residence, sources said they were taken away by police and questioned.
October 25: NGO moves SC challenging Alok Verma's removal: A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Krishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph said "we will see" as counsel Prashant Bhushan sought an urgent hearing as some broader issues have been raised in the PIL by NGO Common Cause.
October 26: After Alok Verma, Rakesh Asthana moves SC against forced leave. CJI-led Bench hear Alok Verma's plea against Centre's move. The apex court set a deadline of two weeks for CVC to complete the inquiry against CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma. The court directed that the inquiry be conducted under the supervision of a retired apex court judge and also barred IPS officer M Nageswara Rao, who has been given interim charge of looking after the duties of the CBI Director, from taking any policy decision or any major decision. It said a list of decisions taken by Rao from October 23 till today, including transfer of investigations and change of investigating officers, be placed before the court in a sealed cover by November 12 - the next date of hearing - after which it would pass appropriate orders.
October 29: HC slammed CBI, Centre for not filing reply on Asthana plea.
November 9: Alok Verma appeared before CVC, countered corruption charges.
November 12: After CVC submitted report, SC adjourned the court proceedings. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul took the report on record and fixed the next hearing on November 16.
November 16: SC heard CBI Director Alok Verma's plea challenging govt's order divesting him of his duties. SC ordered CVC to give CBI Director Alok Verma its report in sealed cover and asked Verma to respond by Monday.
December 7: Alok Verma, said that all the allegations levelled by his deputy Rakesh Asthana against him are false and "nothing but a figment of imagination". Opposing Asthana's plea seeking quashing of an FIR against him for corruption, Verma in his reply said the charges against the special director are serious and require a "thorough probe".