A file photo of CBI chief Alok Verma. Photo: Hindustan Times
A file photo of CBI chief Alok Verma. Photo: Hindustan Times

Official challenges reversal of transfers by CBI chief Alok Verma

CBI chief Alok Verma today reversed the transfer orders, the move means that several officers who were earlier probing graft, bribery charges against special director Rakesh Asthana will now be back to the headquarters

New Delhi: A day after Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Alok Verma reversed all transfer postings by interim chief M. Nageshwar Rao, deputy superintendent of police Devender Kumar has challenged the order in the Delhi High Court.

While the first thing that Verma did upon reinstatement was to reverse the transfer orders, the move means that several officers who were earlier probing graft and bribery charges against special director Rakesh Asthana will now be back to the headquarters.

Devender Kumar was arrested and suspended by the probe agency for allegedly falsifying a statement in the Moin Qureshi case. The agency also confirmed that Deputy Inspector General (DIG) M.K Sinha, who was probing bribery and graft charges against Asthana, has asked to be recused from the ongoing probe.

Following the reversal of transfers – one of whom included Sinha who had been transferred to Nagpur by Rao – Sinha wrote to Verma asking to be recused from the probe against Asthana, “in the interest of the case."

Sinha had been given charge of the banking, securities and frauds cell, and the AC-III unit, which is probing a corruption case against Asthana.

However, in a spate of fresh transfer orders on Thursday evening, Along with DIG M.K Sinha, Verma transferred out four other officers – joint director Ajay Bhatnagar, joint director Murugesan, additional director A.K Sharma and DIG Tarun Gauba.

“It is true that M.K Sinha has asked to be let off the probe against Asthana. As for Devender Kumar, the court will now decide on the petition," said a person familiar with the developments.

In October, the CBI arrested Devender Kumar, the investigating officer of a CBI special investigation team (SIT) probing money-laundering charges against controversial Hyderabad-based meat exporter Moin Qureshi. According to the agency, Kumar was charged with falsifying the statement of a Hyderabad-based businessman named Sathish Sana, a key witness in the case, in order to implicate CBI director Alok Verma.

Verma’s fate still hangs in the balance with a selection committee, comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Leader of the Opposition (Lok Sabha) Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice A.K Sikri in lieu of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi yet to reach a conclusion over the charges leveled against him.

The panel met for the second time on Thursday evening, after a first unsuccessful meeting on Wednesday evening after the panel, according to officials familiar with the development, found the Central Vigilance Commission’s (CVC) report on Verma inconclusive.

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