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CVC can investigate CBI bribery case, govt cannot interfere: Jaitley

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New Delhi, Oct 24: Clearing the air over who would probe into the case involving two top officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Union Government on Wednesday (October 24) said the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has the powers to investigate the case.

Top CBI officials - Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana - have been levelling allegations and counter-allegations of corruption and interference in high-profile cases against each other.

File photo of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that CBI is India's premier investigative agency and its integrity must be kept intact.

"Director has been accused by Special Director. A Special Director has been accused by CBI. Two topmost officers of CBI have been accused. Now who will investigate it? Requirements of fairness and fair play have to be there," Jaitley told the media today.

"To maintain the institutional integrity of CBI and in the interest of fairness, purely as an interim measure,they will sit out by going on leave. An SIT not functioning under either of these officers will investigate. This is in accordance with highest standards of fairness," he added.

Jaitley said government cannot interfere in the matter, adding that the CVC has the powers to handle the probe.

"CVC in its yesterday's meeting said neither of these 2 officers (Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana) nor any agency under their supervision can investigate charges against them. So the officers will sit out by going on leave. It's an interim measure," Jaitley said.

[After being sent on leave, CBI chief Alok Verma moves SC, hearing on 26]

Jaitley also lashed out at the opposition parties over the remarks made in connection with this case.

"Regarding, the charge the 3 opposition parties have made, I regard this charge as a rubbish. The fact that the 3 opposition parties are saying, that we know what the agency was going to do next, itself casts a serious doubt on the fairness process," he said.

CBI chief, Alok Verma, meanwhile, has challenged the government order after he was sent on leave before an interim chief was appointed. Following the ugly public spat, the government decided to send both Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana on leave. Following this M Nageshwar Rao was appointed as the interim director with immediate effect. Verma would now move the Supreme Court against this order of the government.

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