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Rafale jitters: ‘Alok Verma could meet Judge Loya’s fate, SC must intervene’

28 October 2018

Nageswara Rao, a 1986 batch Odisha-cadre IPS officer, took charge as interim chief of CBI around 2 am on Tuesday night following a government order giving him Alok Verma's powers.

"The CBI ought to be insulated from the government".

A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Friday said the inquiry would be conducted on the allegations contained in the Cabinet Secretary's August 24 note to the CVC under the supervision of Justice AK Patnaik. "All parties should protest against this along with Congress party", AAP leader Sanjay Singh said.

On the whole, while both sides may have bones to pick with the order, the Centre is likely to be more aggrieved, since Verma's chief grievance - the orders of the CVC and Centre - could still be easily addressed subsequently by the court. "Changing the CBI director will not work", he said.

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Nearly a year before that, another bench of the Supreme Court had come down heavily on the CBI while hearing a coal scam case and had said the probe agency had become a "caged parrot" speaking in the voice of its political masters.

NGO Common Cause also filed a similar PIL seeking quashing of adverse orders by the government against Alok Verma.

Earlier, Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that Gandhi and other leaders were arrested from the CBI headquarters.

He also states that he had reservations against the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as CBI Special Director in view of the cases pending against him.

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The Centre has described the Supreme Court order seeking the completion of a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) inquiry into allegations against CBI Director Alok Verma under court supervision as an "extremely positive development". The Congress alleged that it was because Verma had begun asking questions about the Rafale deal that he was removed.

Verma and Asthana have been locked in a feud with both accusing the other of corruption, a situation that the government cited to send out a dramatic order issued overnight to send them both off duty. Not only that the Centre has also diluted the powers of Enforcement Directorate and RBI. The BJP leader, Anil Jha, while speaking to the NDTV, said that the decision to send Verma on leave was recommended by the CVC and the SC believed that the probe needed to be completed. Old-timers in Bihar recall Asthana as someone who fought shy of any publicity, not someone with no qualms about getting featured in a video made to eulogise him.

"The prime minister acted against the CBI director as a result of panic and as a result of fear because he has helped Mr Ambani", Gandhi said as he left the police station.

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Rafale jitters: ‘Alok Verma could meet Judge Loya’s fate, SC must intervene’