The classic CBI vs CBI feud continues. CBI Director Alok Verma and his deputy and Special Director Rakesh Asthana on Friday blamed each other for corruption while defending themselves as they deposed before a special probe panel headed by Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) K.V. Chowdary and also has other two Vigilance Commissioners T M Bhasin and Sharad Kumar. Justice A K Patnaik, a retired Supreme Court judge, who has been asked by the Supreme Court to supervise the CVC inquiry, was also present during the questioning of Verma and Asthana.
In an hour-long examination before the inquiry committee Verma denied the allegations levelled against him by Asthana, informed sources said. Verma is understood to have given point-wise refusal to all the allegations levelled by Asthana before the panel.
Verma, who appeared at the Central Vigilance Commission headquarters, told the panel that Asthana had made frivolous complaints against him because there was an FIR pending against him (Asthana) and he feared he would be arrested.
Refuting allegations of corruption against him, Verma said his actions were in the interest of the probe against Asthana.
Verma had on Thursday too appeared before the enquiry committee but the meeting was postponed for Friday due to the non-availability of a Vigilance Commissioner.
Earlier this week, Verma responded in writing to a questionnaire sent by CVC but the panel was not satisfied with his reply and sought his physical appearance.
A 1979 batch IPS officer, Verma was sent on forced leave and divested of all his powers on October 23 after his name surfaced in a corruption scandal. Three days later on October 26 the Supreme Court told the CVC to complete its inquiry against Verma in two weeks. The two-week time limit ends on Sunday and the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the matter on Monday.
The war in the country’s premier investigating agency came to the fore after an FIR was lodged against Asthana, who has also been divested of all powers, and others on the statement of Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana.
Asthana, who reached the CVC headquarters after Verma left, reiterated the corruption allegations against Verma in his 40-minute deposition and denied involvement in any bribery case.
The sources said that Asthana counted more than 12 instances alleging Verma and his deputy, then Additional Director (Policy) A.K. Sharma, of involvement in corruption cases and ordering to slow down investigation in some cases.
He presented what he claimed were evidences against Verma.
Asthana blamed Verma of not filing a FIR and chargesheet in a case involving an Enforcement Directorate official, said the sources, adding the Special Director also accused Verma of preventing raids at the house of former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad in an IRCTC case.
The Commission had examined several CBI officers who were part of the team probing cases that figured in Asthana’s complaint against Verma.