NEW DELHI: Reinstated Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Verma on Wednesday got down to business as he withdrew the midnight transfer orders issued by his predecessor M Nageshwar Rao on October 24.
The withdrawal comes at a time when the high-level committee comprising Justice AK Sikri (CJI Ranjan Gogoi's representative), Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge met in accordance with the Supreme Court directive.
Verma was divested of his powers and replaced by Rao in a midnight change of guard in the CBI on October 24. Rao, after assuming charge had ordered the transfer of 13 officers including those investigating the corruption charges against deputy director Rakesh Asthana. "The transfer/postings/repatriation orders dated 24.10.2018 are withdrawn with immediate effect. The status quo before issuance of the above mentioned order will be maintained..," an internal CBI office order read.
CBI director Alok Verma withdraws transfer orders made by M Nageswara Rao who was appointed as interim CBI Director. Section 4 and 5 of transfer orders not withdrawn. pic.twitter.com/MytrkgBf4M— ANI (@ANI) January 9, 2019
Verma's withdrawal of the transfers means that officers like Bassi, Gurm and Sharma would be back to the capital and lead the old special investigating team probing the Moin Qureshi case which involves Asthana.
The CBI chief's order, however, does not withdraw the transfer of two DIG rank officers - Anish Prasad and KR Chaurasia.
The apex court on Wednesday had reinstated Verma but with a rider. The CBI chief was not to take any policy decisions and was meant to only oversee day to day functioning of the agency till the high-level panel took a decision.
Legal experts say Verma's move to withdraw the transfer order was in accordance with the apex court's verdict. "It is not a policy decision so long as he simply wants them to assist him in his police functioning. He has both the duty and obligation to investigate offences before him. If those officers' transfer is going to diminish his investigation, he is fully justified in reversing those transfers," Supreme Court lawyer KV Dhananjay said.