The South Asian Times

23 March 2019 04:47 AM

Verma quits, says natural justice scuttled in his case

By IANS

New Delhi, Jan 11: Ousted CBI Director Alok Verma on Friday quit government service after he was unceremoniously removed as the agency chief on Thursday by a Prime Minister-led Committee, capping a saga of his battle with his deputy Rakesh Asthana that led to a bitter end to his long career.
 

In a strongly-worded letter to Personnel Secretary Chandramouli C., he said the Selection Committee, which decided to remove him as CBI chief on Thursday night, did not provide him an opportunity to explain the details as recorded by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) before arriving at the decision.

"Natural justice was scuttled and the entire process was turned upside down in ensuring that the undersigned is removed from the post of the Director of CBI.

"The Selection Committee did not consider the fact that the entire CVC report is premised on charges alluded by a complainant who is presently under investigation by the CBI. It may be noted that the CVC only forwarded a purportedly signed statement of the complainant and the complainant never came before retired Justice A.K. Patnaik (supervising the enquiry). Also, Justice Patnaik has concluded that the findings/conclusions of the report are not his," Verma said in the letter.

The 62-year-old Verma, whose two-year tenure as CBI Director was to end on January 31, said institutions are one of the strongest and visible symbols of Indian democracy and it is no exaggeration that the CBI is one of the most important organisation in India today.

"The decisions made yesterday will not just be a reflection on my functioning but will become a testimony on how the CBI as an institution will be treated by any government through the CVC, who is appointed by majority members of the ruling government. This is a moment for collective introspection, to state the least," he said.

Verma, who was shifted on Thursday to the post of Director General of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards and refused to take it up, said as a career bureaucrat it was the idea of his integrity that has been the driving force for four decades.

"I have served the Indian Police Service with an unblemished record and have headed police forces in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Puducherry, Mizoram, Delhi and also headed two organisation - Delhi Prisons and CBI. I have been lucky to have received the invaluable support from the forces that I have headed, which resulted in outstanding achievements having a direct bearing on the performance of the force and the welfare. I would like to thank the Indian Police Service and specially the organisations that I have served," he said.

Verma said that he would have already superannuated as on July 31, 2017 and was only serving the government as Director CBI till January 31 this year as it was a fixed tenure role.

"The undersigned is no longer Director CBI and has already crossed his superannuation age for DG Fire Services. Accordingly, the undersigned may be deemed as superannuated with effect from today," he said in the letter to the government.

Late on Thursday night, Verma issued a statement that the CBI being a prime investigating agency dealing with corruption in high public places was an institution whose independence should be preserved and protected. It must function without external influences.

"I have tried to uphold the integrity of the institution while attempts were being made to destroy it. The same can be seen from the orders of the Central government and the CVC dated October 23, 2018 which were without jurisdiction and were set aside.

"It is sad that on the basis of false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations made by only one person, who was inimical to me, I have been transferred to another post... I have stood up for the integrity of the institution, and if asked will do it again in order to uphold the rule of law," he said.

Verma, who had a long fight with Asthana, was sent on leave on the night of Oct 23-24 which he challenged in the Supreme Court. The apex court on Tuesday set aside the government decision and reinstated him as CBI but without any power to take policy decisions. It asked the high-level Committee to consider his case afresh.

The Committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and CJI nominated Justice A.K. Sikri of the Supreme Court which recommended his removal from the post of CBI chief on Thursday.

Kharge, however, opposed the decision and gave a dissenting note saying Verma should be vested with all the powers and given 77 days that he had lost from October.
 

Update: 11 Jan, 2019

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