CBI Dispute: PM Modi-led selection panel removes CBI Director Alok Verma in 2:1 Vote

The high-powered selection panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 10, 2019 removed Alok Verma as CBI director in a 2:1 vote, less than 48 hours after he was reinstated to the position by the Supreme Court after he was sent on forced leave by the government.

The selection panel removed Verma from the post over charges of corruption and doubtful integrity as per the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission. There were eight counts of charges against him in the CVC report presented before the Committee. This makes him the first chief in the history of CBI to be ousted from the post.

Besides the Prime Minister, the high-level committee comprised Chief Justice of India’s nominee Justice AK Sikri and the leader of the opposition, Mallikarjun Kharge. While the PM and Justice Sikri held that the CVC report had provided sufficient grounds for Verma’s removal, including evidence to initiate a criminal investigation, opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge dissented on the decision, saying that the committee should not arrive at a conclusion without hearing Verma’s side.

Based on the panel’s recommendation, the PM-headed Appointments Committee of the Cabinet immediately issued orders to transfer Verma as Director General Fire services, civil defence and home guards for the remainder of his term, which ends on January 31, 2019. Further, the ACC appointed M Nageswara Rao, CBI Additional Director to look after the duties of the CBI Director until the appointment of a new director.

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