The Indian government has ordered a probe against the country's top investigative agency after two of its most senior officers accused each other of bribery and interference in police investigations. The government has placed Alok Verma, director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and special director, Rakesh Asthana, on leave days after the agency filed a case against Asthana.
PM removed the CBI Director to stop him from investigating Rafale.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 24, 2018
Mr 56 broke the law when he bypassed CJI & LOP.
Mr Modi, Rafale is a deadly aircraft with a superb radar. You can run, but you can't hide from It.
After a cabinet meeting in the morning on Wednesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that a special investigative team will probe the allegations leveled by Verma and Asthana against each other.
"To maintain the institutional integrity, the officers under the cloud must stand out, as an interim measure," Jaitley told reporters.
#WATCH: Union Min Arun Jaitley says, "CVC in its yesterday's meeting said neither these 2 officers (Arun Verma & Rakesh Asthana) nor any agency under their supervision can investigate charges against them. So the officers will sit out by going on leave. It's an interim measure" pic.twitter.com/NHffr1WLeD— ANI (@ANI) October 24, 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been named as an accused along with the then Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar in the complaint. Complainants have accused Modi of favoring private firm Reliance Defence in the $8.7 billion deal involving the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France under a government to government contract.
Sources told Sputnik that Alok Verma had started summoning some defense ministry officials with documents related to the Rafale fighter jet deal.
The agency is also investigating the $2 billion fraud at Punjab National Bank involving fugitive diamond billionaire Nirav Modi, and loan defaults by liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
Meanwhile, Verma has approached the country's apex court petitioning his removal from the post of director of the agency and claimed that the decision is contrary to section 4B of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act which grants secure term of 2 years to CBI chief in order to ensure independence.
The government, on its part, has defended its move of removing Verma by arguing that ''Director CBI did not cooperate in making files/records sought by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) relating to serious allegations…Despite repeated reminders, he failed to furnish the records before the Commission."