Kharge dubs CBI interim chief’s appointment illegal; ‘govt scared’

NEW DELHI: Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, terming the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as the CBI’s interim director “illegal” and demanding that a meeting of the selection committee be convened immediately to appoint a new chief of the probe agency.
Kharge, who is part of the prime minister-headed three-member panel that removed Alok Verma as CBI chief, alleged that the government is scared of CBI led by an “independent” director.
“Actions of the government indicate that it’s scared of a CBI headed by an independent director,” Kharge wrote in his letter to PM Modi. He also demanded that the government come clean on the issues and make public the CVC report, Justice A K Patnaik’s report and minutes of the January 10 meeting. Rao’s appointment as CBI interim chief is “illegal”, the Congress leader wrote in the letter.
Barely two days after the Supreme Court reinstated him, Verma was Thursday last removed as CBI director by the high-powered committee headed by Modi on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty, in an unprecedented action in the central probe agency’s 55-year history. There were eight charges against Verma in the CVC report presented before the committee that also comprised Kharge and Justice A K Sikri, appointed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as his nominee.
‘’The government seemed to be worried about something and in a tearing hurry to dispose a man from his office. An irrational decision was taken to transfer Alok Verma as Director General of Fire Services even after his superannuation. Both Mr Verma’s removal and the appointment of an interim CBI chief are illegal,’’ he said.
Referring to reports that Justice Patnaik had said that the CVC report did not find any charge of corruption against Verma, Kharge said,’’ the media had widely reported that Justice Patnaik had said there was no evidence of corruption against Verma. Kharge said that what the CVC says could not be the final word and in this context, termed the action of the committee as “very very hasty”.
“Such huge embarrassment could have been avoided if the committee had decided to independently examine the report of the CVC, the report of Justice Patnaik, the submissions of Alok Verma in his defence and draw its own conclusions before reaching a decision,” said Kharge.
It is notable that in the meeting of the committee which decided to remove Verma, Kharge had given a dissenting note in which he cited the Vigilance report, which said there was no evidence of the main corruption allegations against Alok Verma. That is the report he wants to be made public, along with one by Justice AK Patnaik, who monitored the vigilance probe. (UNI)

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