India Removes Top Anti-Corruption Officer. But Why?

India Removes Top Anti-Corruption Officer. But Why? RMN News Analysis
India Removes Top Anti-Corruption Officer. But Why? RMN News Analysis

The eyebrow-raising question is how PM Modi can lead a team to remove the investigating officer Verma who was probing a corruption case in which Modi himself is a prime accused.

By Rakesh Raman

The removal of CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) director Alok Verma surreptitiously by a 3-member committee headed by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has become a hot potato in the Indian political circles.

It is said that Verma was trying to probe the Rafale deal in which it is alleged that corruption worth crores of rupees has been committed by the Modi government. It is also alleged that PM Modi himself is involved in this criminal act.

The eyebrow-raising question is how Modi can lead a team to remove the investigating officer Verma who was probing a corruption case in which Modi himself is a prime accused.

The Supreme Court of India on January 8 had ordered the reinstatement of Verma who was unceremoniously asked to go on leave in October last year by the Modi government. The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, however, restrained Verma from taking any major policy decision until a high-powered committee decides his case.

The committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, and Chief Justice of India was given one week to decide the case. Thus, the committee of PM Modi, Justice AK Sikri (CJI Gogoi’s representative), and Leader of Opposition / Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge removed Verma from his position on January 10 in a 2:1 vote. Kharge was not in favour of Verma’s removal.

Earlier, CJI Gogoi had ordered Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to complete the inquiry for the allegations of corruption against CBI director Alok Verma, who was forced by the government to go on leave. The committee decided to remove Verma on the basis of a dubious CVC report while CVC works tightly under the control of Modi government.

Earlier, former Indian ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan had filed a complaint with the CBI, urging the agency to register an FIR against Modi and former defence minister Manohar Parrikar.

The complaint alleges that Modi and Parrikar have committed a number of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, in the course of the April 2015 decision to purchase 36 Rafale aircraft from Dassault Aviation. The complaint was handed over to Alok Verma, who was director of the CBI.

The complaint states that Modi – who is a public servant – misused his position as PM of India to give undue benefit to his close associate Anil Ambani who is the Chairman of Reliance ADA group of companies.

Here are some sharp reactions after Modi’s decision of January 10 to remove Verma who was investigating a case in which Modi himself is an accused.

Supreme Court-appointed Monitor Justice Patnaik: No Evidence of Corruption Against Verma, Decision Of Modi-led Panel Very Hasty.” Click here to read the full article.

The CVC report referred to circumstantial evidence in the case and asked for a ‘thorough criminal investigation’. However, the suspicions raised by the CVC as circumstantial evidence against Verma were dismissed by the Delhi High Court on January 11.” Click here to read the full article.

If the selection committee that removed Alok Verma as CBI director did not give him adequate opportunity to present his point of view, it amounts to a violation of the principles of natural justice,” said former Chief Justice of India T. S. Thakur. Click here to read the full article.

Alok Verma case: Govt didn’t share Justice Patnaik’s report, says Mallikarjun Kharge.” Click here to read the full article.

In his formal submission to Justice A K Patnaik, the retired Supreme Court judge supervising the inquiry against him being conducted by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), deposed CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma had said Central Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdary paid a visit to his residence on October 6 as an ‘arbitrator’ for then CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana.” Click here to read the full article.

Justice Patnaik’s Alok Verma Claims Raise Tough Questions for Supreme Court.” Click here to read the full article.

“Justice Sikri, who voted for Alok Verma’s sacking, to get key post in London.” Click here to read the full article.

“Supreme Court Judge Turns Down Post-Retirement Offer Amid Alok Verma Row. Justice AK Sikri, who retires in March, was nominated for the post at the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT).” Click here to read the full article.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also creates and publishes a number of digital publications on different subjects.

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Rakesh Raman