Democratic functioning, natural justice scuttled: Alok Verma on his removal as CBI chief

Alok Kumar Verma, who is a 1979 batch IPS officer of the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories cadre was removed from his position as the CBI Chief by the central government. He has over 35 years of experience in the Indian Police Service.

Reacting to the development, senior lawyer Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, one of the petitioners in the Rafale deal case, called this as a desperate move by the Narendra Modi government. Bhushan alleged, Verma, who was reinstated as the CBI director on Tuesday by the Supreme Court, has been transferred out of the CBI as he was likely to file an FIR against Modi in the Rafale “scam”. He called it “astounding desperation of government to prevent FIR by Verma on our Rafale complaint.”Reinstated on orders from the Supreme Court, with a rider that the final call in the matter would be taken by the Select Committee headed by Modi, Verma was sent on leave by the Central Vigilance Commission on October 23, 2018. Transfered as director General Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards, Verma has decided not to take charge, writing a letter to C Chandramouli, secretary, Department of Personnel and Training protesting against the Modi move.

Text of the letter:

Vide order dated January 10, 2019, the undersigned has been posted as the Director General Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards and transferred out of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The Selection Committee has not provided the undersigned an opportunity to explain the details as recorded by the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) before arriving at the decision. Natural justice was scuttled and the entire process was turned upside down in ensuring that the undersigned is removed from the post of the Director CBI.

The Selection Committee did not consider the fact that the entire CVC report is premised on charges alluded by a complainant who is presently under investigation by the CBI. It may be noted that the CVC only forwarded a purportedly signed statement of the complainant and the complainant never came before Hon’ble Justice (Retd) AK Patnaik (supervising the enquiry). Also, Justice Patnaik has concluded that the findings/ conclusions of the report are not his.

Institutions are one of the strongest and most visible symbols of our democracy and it is no exaggeration that the CBI is one of the most important organisations in India today. The decisions made yesterday will not just be a reflection on my functioning but will become a testimony on how the CBI as an institution will be treated by any government through the CVC, who is appointed by majority members of the ruling government. This is a moment for collective introspection, to state the least.

As a career bureaucrat, it is the idea of my integrity that has been the driving force for four decades in public service. I have served the Indian Police Service with an unblemished record and have headed police forces in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Puducherry, Mizoram, Delhi and also headed two organizations, Delhi Prisons and CBI.

I have been lucky to have received the invaluable support from the forces that I have headed, which resulted in outstanding achievements having a direct bearing on the performance of the force and their welfare. I would like to thank the Indian Police Service and especially the organizations that I have served.

Also, it may be noted that the undersigned would have already superannuated as on July 31, 2017 and was only serving the Government as Director, CBI, till January 31, 2019, as the same was a fixed tenure role. The undersigned is no longer Director, CBI and has already crossed his superannuation age for DG Fire Services, Civil Defence & Home Guards. Accordingly, the undersigned may be deemed as superannuated with effect from today.

Thanking you, Yours Sincerely, Alok Kumar Verma.

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