Alok Verma appoints new officer for Rakesh Asthana probe
Hours before his removal as CBI director again on Thursday, Alok Verma ordered transfers of the officers who had been shunted out following his removal on October 23. It was unclear whether orders issued by Verma in last two days would be nullified.
The CBI director on Thursday held discussions with officers to review cases. He also appointed a new investigating officer, SP-ranked IPS officer Mohit Gupta, to probe the agency’s Special Director Rakesh Asthana.
The order came following DIG M K Sinha’s request to recuse himself from taking charge of the probe against Asthana. Sinha has now been given charge of Anti-Corruption Unit-I along with banking, securities and frauds cell.
Sinha had been transferred to Nagpur a day after M Nageshwar Rao took interim charge of the CBI, after the government sent Verma and Asthana on leave. Verma, who resumed duties on orders of the Supreme Court, withdrew most transfer orders issued under Rao, including that of Sinha. After being transferred, Sinha had approached the SC through an affidavit claiming top officials were allegedly interfering in the CBI probe against Asthana. Sinha alleged that Verma briefed NSA Ajit Doval on October 17 about registration of a case against Asthana.
According to Verma’s order of Thursday, IPS officer V Murugesan will continue as Joint Director of Anti Corruption Unit-III, which is probing the case against Asthana. After Sinha sought to recuse himself, CBI chief asked Deputy Inspector General Tarun Gauba to continue supervising investigations of the unit probing Asthana.
Additional Director and Gujarat-cadre IPS officer A K Sharma, who was overall in-charge of the probe against Asthana before Verma was sent on leave, will supervise the work of Anti-Corruption Unit-I, which handles sensitive corruption cases related to defence deals among others. The CBI director ordered Joint Director Ajay Bhatnagar, Joint Director MDMA, to take additional charge of JD (Training), replacing Bhanu Bhaskar who was made in-charge of CBI’s Patna zone.
Bhaskar was holding additional charge of Bhopal Zone, which was transferred to Joint Director A Y V Krishna. He will hold additional charge of Bhopal Zone along with Hyderabad Zone, a CBI order stated. DIG Anurag was moved from Anti-Corruption Unit-I to Anti corruption unit-II.