NEW DELHI :
A fresh round of infighting gripped the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday, with interim chief M. Nageswara Rao being accused of partisan behaviour by another officer of the agency.
With the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led selection panel removing former chief Alok Verma on 10 January, the government had hoped to restore order in the agency. However, with Rao once again being elevated to the post of interim chief, amid a spate of transfer orders sanctioned by him, the equilibrium within the CBI is once again likely to be rocked with Rao being accused of “unfairly targeting" officers.
An impending battle, former senior CBI officials said, could “derail extremely important investigations such as the ICICI Bank case, which the agency has recently registered. Focus should now be on making the agency work."
On Monday, CBI superintendent of police (SP) Rajah Balaji moved the Supreme Court challenging his recent transfer order by Rao to the CBI academy from the anti-corruption branch. Among the allegations levelled against Rao, Balaji has claimed that he was “being targeted by Rao".
On 20 January, in an abrupt churn, Rao transferred 20 officials within the agency, including Balaji who was moved to the CBI academy. Balaji was also awarded the medal for meritorious service, last year.
While CBI said it “did not comment on internal processes," another person familiar with the developments said that the genesis of the tussle between Balaji and Rao “dates back to the time when Balaji served under Rao in Chennai where the latter was posted as joint director (Chennai Zone). Problems had crept up then itself and now Balaji has gone against Rao, who is the sitting chief."
Balaji investigated the Mecca Masjid blast case, the Madhumita Shukla murder case and was supervising several probes in bank fraud cases registered in Karnataka where he was posted, while Rao was joint director (Chennai).