A day after the sensational events that saw CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma once again being removed from his post by the Select Committee comprising PM Modi, Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice Sikri, the Delhi High Court has refused to quash the FIR filed against on-leave CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana and Deputy Superintendent Devender Kumar. Accordingly, the CBI has been given 10 weeks to conclude the probe into charges against Asthana.
Following the Delhi High Court's verdict, Rakesh Asthana sought the liberty to appeal before the Supreme Court. The request was granted. However, the Delhi High Court refused to grant interim protection to Asthana but did ask the CBI to maintain a status quo for 2 weeks.
The Delhi High Court bench of Justice Waziri had reserved its judgment in the case on December 20. The FIR in the case had been filed by Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Sana who alleged that he had paid bribes in exchange for relief in the meat-exporter Moin Qureshi case.
Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana, the erstwhile No. 1 and No. 2 in India's premier investigative agency had each made corruption allegations against each other, as a result of which the government acted based on the recommendations of the CVC by sending both on leave. Verma appealed in the Supreme Court which reinstated him on an interim basis while charging the Selection Committee comprising the PM, Leader of Opposition and CJI, to look into the charges against him. Merely 36 hours after Verma took over the CBI again, the Select Committee removed him again, with the PM and Justice Sikri (appointed by CJI Gogoi) voting for his removal and Mallikarjun Kharge voting against. Justice Sikri's reasoning was that the charges against Verma were grievous and a fair probe couldn't be conducted while he was CBI boss.
Nageshwar Rao, who had been appointed interim CBI chief after Verma and Asthana being sent on leave, has again taken over in the same post. He reversed the decisions taken by Verma in his 36-hour stint. Verma had essentially reversed all decisions taken by Rao. As per inputs, Alok Verma has refused to take charge as DG Fire Services where he has been transferred by the Select Committee.