CBI Vs CBI: SC likely to hear Asthana's plea today challenging divestment of duties

New Delhi, Oct 29, News24 Bureau: The Supreme Court is likely to hear a plea today filed by Special Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation Rakesh Asthana, in which he has sought the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma from the post and also challenged the Centre's decision to divest him of duties and send him on leave.This is going to be one of the biggest and special cases in the history of Independent India when India's premier investigating agency's two senior-most officers are in the court of law seeking justice.And this is again for the first time that the infight and hurling of accusations on each other have come out in open.Asthana and Verma, the two most senior functionaries of the CBI, have been embroiled in an unprecedented feud, each accusing the other of corruption and of having accepted bribes.Mukul Rohatgi, former attorney general and Counsel for the CBI special director,  brought the petition to the Supreme Court's attention on Friday, while the bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph was hearing Verma's petition, who also challenged the Department of Personnel and Training's decision to remove him from his post and send him on leave.Asthana, in his plea, referred to the sequence of events in his feud with Verma in the CBI and claimed he was a "whistleblower" as he had approached the Central Vigilance Commission on August 24 with a corruption complaint against the CBI director.The special director also accused the Centre of backing the "corrupt" CBI chief, alleging that he had been victimised for his bonafide actions.The opposition has been critical about the whole development: Opposition parties have slammed the government for CBI Director Alok Verma's removal amid an escalating feud between him and his deputy Rakesh Asthana, with the Congress dubbing it the "last nail" in the agency's independence and the CPI(M) calling it illegal.Adding its voice to the debate, the Aam Aadmi Party had asked the reasons for sending the CBI director on leave. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wondered if Verma was "sacked" for his keenness to probe the "layers of corruption" in the Rafale scam and sought an answer from Prime Minister Narendra Modi."Modi govt buries the 'last nail' into the independence of CBI. Systematic dismantling & denigrating of CBI is now complete. Once a premier investigating agency, PM ensures that CBI's integrity, credibility & reliability is buried & dead," Surjewala had said on Twitter.

With Agencies