Four IB Officers Held for 'Snooping' Outside CBI Chief's Home, Opposition Leader Writes to PM Modi
While Home Ministry officials said the four men were on "routine, covert" duties in the high security area outside Verma's 2 Janpath residence, sources said they were taken away by police and questioned.
New Delhi: The CBI vs CBI battle got another murky twist on Thursday when four men were detained from outside CBI director Alok Verma's Delhi residence for 'suspicious activity'.
The personal security officer of Alok Verma reportedly confronted these men, who claimed they were from the Intelligence Bureau. According to their identity cards, they have been identified them as Dhiraj Kumar, Ajay Kumar, Prashant and Vineet Kumar Gupta. Sources said they were taken away to Tughlaq Road police station and questioned.
A statement issued by the Intelligence Bureau accepted that these men were from IB but denied that there was any attempt to "snoop" on Alok Verma. "IB is entrusted with the responsibility of collecting intelligence on situations that may affect, inter alia, public order and internal security. Among other things, the units are routinely deployed in sensitive areas. This is unlike surveillance, which is done covertly," a statement from the IB said.
Elaborating on the incident outside Verma's house, the bureau said, "One unit, in early hours of today (Thursday), halted on Janpath, where there was an unusual collection of people. This was with a view to check the reason why people had collected at the location. This is a high security zone where several protectees reside. Unfortunately, their presence was projected otherwise."
Top IB officials told CNN-News18 that the "unusual collection of people" was the, "congregation of media personnel outside 2 Janpath", the official residence of director CBI.
Eyewitness accounts, however, refuted this claim. One of the media persons, who captured the scenes on camera, told CNN-News18 on conditions of anonymity that there were barely two to three people present in the area. "Two cars were parked. One Celerio on the Tees January lane opposite the front gate of the house and one Alto car in the back lane facing the back door of 2 Janpath," he said.
The staff at Alok Verma's residence alleged that the two cars were parked overnight and the IB officials were keeping a watch on visitors. IB refused to confirm if the vehicles were parked overnight. "These are stories. We know the units were on patrol duty and this is routine. If the PSO had any doubts, why not call the police? Why drag these men and get their I-cards video graphed," an official told CNN-News18.
Sources said the IB officials were taken to the local police station and let off after a few hours. No formal complaint has been made against the PSO of Alok Verma or the IB officials. "It was wrong on the part of PSOs to drag and assault our men. But whether to take action or not is for Delhi Police to decide," an IB official said.
The Congress party once again latched onto the issue to target the Modi government. While Randeep Surjewala alleged that the Centre was 'snooping' on CBI Director through the IB, Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge slammed the central government for taking the decision overnight, "without even consulting the opposition as a courtesy". He said that he has written to PM Modi regarding it.
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