NEW DELHI: CBI interim director M Nageswara Rao, on Friday took charge and ordered the reversal of all transfers ordered by ousted CBI director Alok Verma while shifting 15 officers of the Union Territory cadre.
“The office orders dated 09.01.2019 and 10.01.2019 are hereby declared as non-est and consequently all actions in pursuance thereof by all concerned are also hereby declared as null and void. In other words, status quo ante as on 08.01.2019 stands restored,” an order stated.
A day after being reinstated as CBI chief on January 8 following a Supreme Court order, Verma had revoked most of the transfers made by Rao, who had taken charge in a midnight change of guard in October last year after Verma was sent on leave and divested of all powers by the government.
What the revoking of the transfers essentially means is that officers like A K Bassi and S S Gurm, who were part of the special investigation team probing corruption allegations against special director Asthana in the Moin Qureshi case, will now be out of the capital. The new team appointed by Rao will probe the matter after the Delhi High Court refused to quash the FIR registered against Asthana, DSP Devender Kumar and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad.
Meanwhile, advocate Prashant Bhushan hinted he that may move the Supreme Court against Rao’s appointment as interim director. Bhushan said Verma’s removal showed Modi’s desperation to prevent any investigation into the Rafale jet deal.
“Despite SC saying that Govt can’t appoint or remove CBI Dir without the approval of the High Powered Committee, the Govt again appointed Nageswara Rao as interim Director without approval of HPC. Totally illegal. Will be challenged. Also no transparency in selection of new CBI chief (sic.),” Bhushan tweeted.
Rao can take policy decisions
The Supreme Court had stopped interim chief M Nageswara Rao from taking any major policy decisions when he took charge after Verma was sent on forced leave in October 2018. However, no such condition applies on his present tenure