Alok Verma: Corruption charges against me frivolous
At the meeting, Justice Sikri sided with the government that Verma should be shunted out of the post on the basis of the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), which went into the graft allegations levelled against him
Alok Verma, who was transferred within 48 hours after rejoining as CBI Director, said the corruption charges against him were false, unsubstantiated and frivolous. In a statement issued late Thursday night, Verma said: "It is sad that (on the) basis false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations made by only one person, who was inimical to me, I have been transferred to another post pursuant to the orders of the committee which was assigned the task of deciding my future course of action as Director CBI," he said referring to the allegations made against him by Special Director Rakesh Asthana.
Verma's remarks came after he was unceremoniously removed from the post on Thursday evening after a 2-1 decision by the high-level Selection Committee. The committee members are Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the largest opposition group in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who, having heared the case arising out of Verma's challenge against the government decision to send him on leave in October, nominated Justice A.K. Sikri as his nominee to attend the committee meeting.
At the meeting, Justice Sikri sided with the government that Verma should be shunted out of the post on the basis of the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), which went into the graft allegations levelled against him.
Kharge, who gave a dissent note, opposed the majority decision. The 1979-batch IPS officer, who was removed from the agency's helm on the midnight of October 23 after his tussle with Asthana became public, was reinstated on Tuesday by the apex court on grounds that the government cannot transfer or alter the duties of the Central Bureau of Investigation chief without going to the Selection Committee.
Verma said on Thursday night: "I have stood up for the integrity of the institution, and if asked, will do it again in order to uphold the rule of law." He also said that the CBI being a prime investigating agency dealing in corruption in high public places is an institution whose "independence should be preserved and protected".
"It must function without external influences. I have tried to uphold the integrity of the institution while attempts were being made to destroy it. "The same can be seen from the orders of the central government and the CVC dated October 23 , 2018 which were without jurisdiction and were set aside," he added, referring to the orders of the government and the CVC of October 23 to divest him of his powers.
Shortly after the meeting, Verma was appointed Director General, Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards till January 31 when his tenure would end. The government also brought back M. Nageswara Rao, Additional Director, CBI to look after the duties of the Director, CBI, till the appointment of a new Director or until further orders, whichever is earlier, a notification by the Appointment Committee of Cabinet said.
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