Punjab, Haryana Congressmen Protest Near CBI Office in Chandigarh | Congress ministers and party members protested near the CBI office here against the Centre's move to divest agency director Alok Verma of his powers and send him on leave and they demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Police had barricaded roads leading to the CBI office in Sector 30 here and after the protestors tried to cross the barricades, the police used water canons to disperse them, PTI reported. The protestors had to move back from the barricades erected near the CBI office, the police said. Several ministers, including Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Vijay Inder Singla, and were among the agitating party members. In-charge of the Punjab Congress' affairs Asha Kumari, Punjab and Haryana Congress chiefs Sunil Kumar Jakhar and Ashok Tanwar led the protesters, the Congress said. The Congress leaders demanded an apology from the prime minister and alleged that the "illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate" removal of the CBI director had shamed India and its premier investigative agency.
Gandhi, along with hundreds of party workers, was protesting outside CBI headquarters against the overnight ouster of CBI Director Alok Verma.
Show of Unity in Hyderabad as Congress, TDP, CPI Workers Stage Protest | The Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and CPI Friday held a demonstration infront of the CBI office in Hyderabad against the move to divest the central agency's Director Alok Verma of his power and send him on leave, PTI reported. AICC incharge for Telangana RC Khuntia, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president N Uttam Kumar Reddy, TDP Telangana unit president L Ramana and CPI state secretary Chada Venkat Reddy led the protest. Congress, TDP and CPI are part of a "grand alliance" for the December 7 Legislative Assembly elections in Telangana. Speaking to reporters, Khuntia claimed that the NDA government removed CBI Chief to 'suppress' the Rafale issue.
As the country’s premier investigation agency is embroiled in an internal tussle, here’s a breakdown of the major investigation agencies in India.
READ | CBI's Top Bosses Must be Beyond Suspicion Like Ceaser's Wife, Says Arun Jaitley
Justifying the forced leave of Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana, Jaitley said this was necessary in the
BJP Feels They Are Entitled to Destroy Democratic Pillars, Says Siddaramaiah | Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah also launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for turmoil in the CBI, alleging it was another manifestation of his "autocratic" rule."Siddaramaiah tweeted, "The recent events related (to) #CBI is just another manifestation of @narendramodi's autocratic rule. @BJP4India feels that they are entitled to destroy the democratic pillars. Ppl (People) are just clueless about the lawlessness & have lost faith & confidence in the system. #ModiSeCBIBachao."
The recent events related #CBI is just another manifestation of @narendramodi's autocratic rule. @BJP4India feels that they are entitled to destroy the democratic pillars. Ppl are just clueless about the lawlessness & have lost faith & confidence in the system. #ModiSeCBIBachao— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) October 26, 2018
Karnataka Congress Workers Stage Protest Over CBI Row in Bengaluru | Congress workers on Friday staged a protest in front of the CBI office in Bengaluru following the party's call for a nationwide agitation against the Centre's action to divest CBI Director Alok Verma of his powers and send him on leave, PTI reported. However, MLAs and corporators did not take part in the protest in the city though the party high command had directed legislators to participate in the agitation. The only prominent face was party's national general secretary and Karnataka in-charge K C Venugopal. Karnataka is ruled by the Congress-JD(S) coalition.
What is Vineet Narain Case | The Vineet Narain decision, delivered by the apex court in 1997, relates to investigation of allegations of corruption against high-ranking public officials in India. Referring to CVC's order divesting Verma of his power, Nariman said the Centre had also passed an order on the same day appointing another person to perform duties of CBI chief. The bench, while ordering that CVC inquiry would be conducted under the supervision of a retired apex court judge, said it was done because of the importance of the case and without casting aspersions on any constitutional or statutory authority. The apex court requested Justice (retd) Patnaik to ensure that CVC's inquiry is completed on time. Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Asthana, told the bench that he has also filed a petition in the matter in the apex court.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued notices to the Centre and CVC seeking their response on the plea filed by Verma who has also sought a stay on the Centre's order giving interim charge of his post to Rao, a 1986 batch Odisha-cadre IPS officer. The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, also dealt with the petition filed by NGO Common Cause which has sought a probe by special investigation team (SIT) against CBI officers, including Asthana. The top court issued notices to the Centre, CBI, CVC, Asthana, Verma and Rao on the NGO's plea and asked them to respond to it by November 12. During the hearing, the bench told Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, that it would examine the matter and CVC's inquiry should be completed within 10 days under the supervision of a sitting apex court judge. "We want to see preliminary probe report in 10 days to decide whether it requires further probe," the bench said. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CVC, said the commission was under the process of conducting inquiry and keeping in view the large number of documents involved, 10 days time would not be sufficient to complete the inquiry. "We should get some reasonable and realistic time for the inquiry," he said.
RECAP of CBI vs CBI case | CBI chief Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana have made allegations of corruption against each other. Verma had sought an urgent hearing on his plea, which was filed on October 24, saying that besides sending the agency's chief and the Special CBI Director on leave, several officers probing sensitive cases have been changed. The feud between Verma and Asthana escalated recently leading to registration of an FIR against Asthana and others including Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, who is in the CBI custody in an alleged bribery case. The FIR was lodged on a written complaint of Satish Babu Sana on October 15. It alleged that Kumar, the investigating officer (IO) in a case, was repeatedly calling him to the CBI office to harass and compel him to pay bribe of Rs 5 crore for giving him clean chit. Asthana and Kumar have both challenged the FIR in the Delhi High Court.
CLICK TO READ | AK Patnaik: The Judge Who Would Monitor Probe Into Allegations of Bribery Against CBI Chief Verma
Justice Patnaik was also a member of the
State Congress leaders led demonstrations in their regions against what the Congress described as the "illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate removal of the CBI director by the Modi-Shah duo". The apex court said former Supreme Court judge A K Patnaik will oversee a CVC inquiry into the allegations against Verma and the report has to be placed before it within two weeks. It directed that interim CBI chief M Nageswara Rao shall not take any major policy decisions. Decisions taken by him since October 23 till date shall not be implemented, it said. All decisions taken by Rao shall be placed before the apex court in a sealed cover
Senior Congress leaders, including Ashok Gehlot, Ahmed Patel, Motilal Vora, Veerappa Moily and Anand Sharma, took part in the march that culminated in a demonstration ahead of the CBI headquarters. Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav, CPI leader D Raja and TMC's Nadimul Haque joined the protest. The Congress' protests in the national capital were replicated in other parts of the country.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi Friday courted arrest after staging a protest outside the CBI headquarters here against the move to divest CBI Director Alok Verma of his powers and send him on leave. Earlier addressing the gathering Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue. He also accused him of destroying institutions including the CBI, the Election Commission and the Enforcement Directorate.
"The truth coming out is in the larger interest of India," he said. "All officers of CBI, particularly the top few officers, like Ceaser's wife must be beyond suspicion, they must be above suspicion." The minister said the objective behind the CVC direction and the government acting on it was that the truth is established following the highest standards of fairness and the due process of law. "And the two additional steps that the order today by the Supreme Court has ensured, that is, early disposal and oversight judge, only adds to that fairness process. And that is why the govt considers it as a very positive development," he added.
"What has happened in the Supreme Court today is that the Supreme Court has further strengthened the fairness criteria. They have fixed a time limit that this must be over in two weeks which is a positive development and in order to ensure that the highest standards of fairness are maintained even in the inquiries, they have appointed a retired judge as an oversight judge to ensure that the CVC inquiry is absolutely fair," he said. Jaitley said it is only an inquiry which will ensure that truth comes out.
The Supreme Court asking the Central Vigilance Commission to complete within two weeks its inquiry into corruption allegations against CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma is an "extremely positive development," he said. "The government has no interest for or against any individual. The government is interested in only maintaining the professionalism, the image and the institutional integrity of the CBI". Justifying asking Verma and Rakesh Asthana, a special director at the agency, being relieved of their roles, he said this was necessary in the "larger interest of fairness because you can't be heading an agency which is investigating into your own conduct". Stating that the action against Verma and Asthana came on recommendation of CVC, he said the government had given effect to that order.
Welcoming the Supreme Court order seeking completion of a probe into allegations against top officials of CBI within two weeks, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Friday said the government has no interest for or against any individual and is keen only on maintaining institutional integrity of the investigative agency. Jaitley said recent developments have eroded the credibility of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the "CVC, in the interest of fairness, had passed an order that till investigation or inquiry is pending against the two top officers of the CBI, they must step aside and recuse themselves from CBI's function".
"They can arrest me as many times as they want. PM Narendra Modi has worked against CBI director out of fear," says Rahul Gandhi after courting arrest at Lodhi Road police station.
#BREAKING -- People of this country have realized what PM has done. Changing the CBI director will not work. They can arrest me as many times as they want. PM @narendramodi has worked against CBI director out of fear: @RahulGandhi | #CBIvsCBI pic.twitter.com/5AyiDUeCsC— News18 (@CNNnews18) October 26, 2018
After courting arrest at Lodhi Road police station, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that the government can detain him as many times as they want but they cannot hide the truth. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has deceived the nation. He can run away from the truth, but he cannot hide it. People of this country have realised what PM has done. Changing the CBI director will not work," he said.
According the Supreme Court order, it is CBI chief Alok Verma who will be probed by CVC. Special director Rakesh Asthana is not a part of that investigation. There is no case against him," former AG Mukul Rohatgi tells CNN-News18.
#EXCLUSIVE -- Mr Alok Verma's main point that he had been removed by an incompetent authority has got lost, former AGI Mukul Rohatgi tells @bhupendrachaube. | #CBIvsCBI— News18 (@CNNnews18) October 26, 2018
LIVE UPDATES: https://t.co/LySk0aoWiA pic.twitter.com/AnJz9uEs5t
A day earlier, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge had slammed the government for not consulting the committee responsible for CBI chief's selection. He had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding it. Here's a copy of his letter.
Letter by LoP LS Mallikarjun Kharge to Prime Minister Modi informing him that the removal of the CBI director is illegal and can only be done with the consent of the Committee. #ModiSeCBIBachao pic.twitter.com/rdkh3POHsD— Congress (@INCIndia) October 26, 2018
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and other leaders of the Congress Party detained during the protests at the CBI Headquarters in Delhi.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and other leaders of the Congress Party detained during the protests at the CBI Headquarters in Delhi: Congress pic.twitter.com/f4pt4XeHdY— ANI (@ANI) October 26, 2018
"The Supreme Court has further strengthened the fairness criteria. They have appointed a retired judge for the probe and given a time limit to ensure that the truth comes out. The truth coming out is in larger interest of the country. The government considers it as a very positive move," says Union minister Arun Jaitley, reacting on apex court hearing on exiled CBI chief Alok Verma's plea.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and senior party leaders detained after they courted arrest during a protest demanding the reinstatement of CBI Director Alok Verma outside the CBI headquarters, at a police station in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI Photo)
Meanwhile, Union minister Arun Jaitley said that he is confident that truth in the matter will come out soon and termed Supreme Court's decision on the matter as positive. "Government has no interest for or against any individual. It is only interested in maintaining professionalism, image and constitutional integrity of the CBI," he said.
Gandhi, along with senior leader Ashok Gehlot, are sitting on a truck outside agency headquarters. Some workers can be seen trying to break the barricades. The Congress has termed the move against Verma "illegal and unconstitutional". Top Congress leaders took part in the march that culminated in a demonstration outside the CBI headquarters. Leaders of other parties also joined the protest as a mark of solidarity.
Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav, CPI leader D Raja and TMC's Nadimul Haque joined the Congress protest that started from outside Dayal Singh College on Lodhi Road. Gandhi got on to a truck in front of the police barricades put up outside the CBI headquarters to prevent the protesters from reaching the building.
The Supreme Court on Friday said the CVC inquiry on allegations and counter-allegations in the nasty feud between CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana should be completed in 10 days under supervision of court. The Centre and the CBI were asked by the SC to provide the CVC report to court in a sealed cover within 10 days. Upon this direction, the CVC pleaded that 10 days for CBI enquiry is not enough as it has to look into several documents. The top court then granted two weeks' time to the CVC for concluding the probe.
Earlier, CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana also moved Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Centre to divest him of his duties and sending him on leave.
Verma filed the writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, as per which individuals may seek redressal for any violation of their fundamental rights.
Top lawyers Fali Nariman and Sanjay Hegde represented Verma in the court.
Verma had filed a plea in the top court after an unprecedented internal feud between him and his deputy Special Director Rakesh asthana came out in the open and the government was forced to intervene in the matter sending the two on a forced leave.
Meanwhile, the government appointed M Nageshwar Rao the interim chief of the CBI. In his petition, Verma emphasised the need to allow the CBI "to function completely independently and autonomously", but said: "There are bound to be occasions when certain investigations into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the government."
The SC will also hear the plea filed by Common Cause NGO by Advocate Prashant Bhushan. Common Cause’s PIL moved by Advocate Prashant Bhushan seeks SC monitored probe into the corruption allegations against CBI top officials.
It seeks the removal of Rakesh Asthana from the post of CBI Special Director in view of the recent FIR registered against him on allegation of acceptance of bribe to derail investigation against Moin Qureshi.
Common Cause further states that the new Interim Director M Nageshwara Rao is not fit for the job in view of corruption allegations against him. However, the probe agency on Thursday said Alok Verma continues to remain the director of the CBI, while Rakesh Asthana will continue as its special director.
According to CBI, M Nageshwar Rao will look after the duties and functions of the CBI director till the time Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is deciding the case involving allegations and counter allegations between the top two officials of the agency.
Advocate Gopal Shankarnaryanan, appearing for the CBI Director Verma on Wednesday had sought urgent hearing and had also referred to the fact that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had taken the decision at 6 AM yesterday to divest Verma of his duties. Verma in his petition has stated that his removal from the post was "patently illegal".
Highlighting the fact that a proper process of removal was not followed, the CBI director has made a case that for the removal or transfer of the CBI director, the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) needs the approval of the high-powered committee — comprising the prime minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India — that appoints the CBI chief.
"The exercise of power by the impugned orders has been to bypass the mandate of the committee," Verma said, referring to the orders of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and the CVC divesting him of his responsibilities at the CBI.
Every CBI director has a fixed tenure of two years secured under law and Verma has pointed it out under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. "This is precisely to secure the independence of the CBI, but the same has been violated by the impugned orders," says the plea of Verma in SC.
The CBI director has also stated that CBI as an institution must be away from government influence. However, the recent act of government stripping him of powers point to a situation where there is a need for giving CBI separate independence than DoPT.
"The CBI ought to be insulated from the government. The present actions give serious credence to the requirement that the CBI be given independence from the DoPT, which seriously hinders the functioning of the institution," Verma has stated in petition to be heard on Friday. Verma has prayed before the court to quash the orders of the DoPT and CVC divesting him of his duties at the CBI.
Even Rakesh Asthana has approached the Delhi High Court against the FIR lodged against him by the CBI alleging cases of corruption stating that under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, a public servant like him cannot be slapped with a FIR before the government gives a nod.
However, Verma has mentioned Asthana too in the petition but has not named him. Verma had stated that the CBI special director posed "hurdles" at the CBI.
"Over the recent past, although all functionaries within the CBI... have agreed on a certain course of action, the special director has been of a different view," says Verma in his petition.
Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi is set to lead the party as it stages protests outside all CBI offices across the country on Friday, demanding reinstatement of CBI director Alok Verma, who has been sent on leave, and seeking an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "destroying" the image of the premier investigating agency. Gandhi tweeted he will lead the party's protests outside the CBI headquarters in CGO complex in the national capital.
Tomorrow, outside CBI offices nationwide, the Congress party will protest the PM’s disgraceful attempt to prevent an investigation into the Rafale scam, by removing the CBI Chief.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 25, 2018
I will lead the protests outside CBI HQ in Delhi, at 11 AM. #CBIRafaleGate
Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has also demanded answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the action against CBI director Alok Verma without consulting other members of the panel that selected him.
In a strongly-worded letter to the prime minister, Kharge accused him of acting "arbitrarily" and creating a "false equivalence of charges" between the CBI director and his deputy Rakesh Asthana.
Kharge was part of a three-member panel headed by Modi that had selected Verma last year to head the CBI. The then Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar was the other member of the selection committee.
He said that "no meeting of the selection committee was convened to deliberate on this issue as prescribed under law". The Congress leader also accused Modi and his government of resorting to "snooping" on Verma to "cover-up" the Rafale 'scam'.
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