Alok Verma, who was transferred as Director General Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guard, refused to take charge.
New Delhi: In a sudden move, sacked CBI director Alok Verma resigned on Friday while refusing to take charge of fire services, a posting offered to him on Thursday after he was removed as chief of the premier Central probe agency on corruption charges by a three-member committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a letter to department of personnel and training secretary C. Chandramouli, Mr Verma, 61, asked the government to treat him “deemed superannuated” with immediate effect.
While refusing to take up his new assignment as director general fire service, civil defence and home guards, Mr Verma, a 1979-batch IPS officer from AGMUT cadre who was scheduled to retire on January 31, said that the three-member selection committee had not provided him an opportunity to explain the details as recorded by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) before arriving at the decision of transferring him.
“Natural justice was scuttled and the entire process was turned upside down in ensuring that the undersigned is removed from the post of CBI director. 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,” Mr Verma said in a veiled reference to special director Rakesh Asthana, the complainant against him before the CVC.
Mr Verma’s surprise move came a day after the high-powered selection committee comprising the Prime Minister, Justice A.K. Sikri and leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, in a split verdict, decided to transfer him 21 days ahead of the completion of his tenure.
Meanwhile, interim CBI director M. Nageshwar Rao on Friday cancelled all transfer decisions taken by his ousted predecessor Mr Verma, reverting to the position of officials as on January 8, officials said.
Fresh order issued by Mr Rao declared all the orders issued by Mr Verma as “non est”. Senior Indian Information Service officer Nitin Wakankar was also appointed as the new spokesperson of the CBI.
Mr Verma, after being reinstated by the Supreme Court on January 8, had undone all the transfers done by Mr Rao. He had also appointed a new investigation officer to probe the case against Mr Asthana, his deputy who had also been sent on a forced leave following a feud with Mr Verma over corruption charges.
Mr Verma slammed his removal as CBI chief and said that it may be noted that the CVC only forwarded a purportedly signed statement of the complainant (Asthana), and the complainant never came before Justice (Retd) A.K. Patnaik who was supervising the inquiry.
Referring to the three-member panel’s decision to sack him from the probe agency, Mr Verma said, “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.”
The former Delhi police commissioner said he is a career bureaucrat and it is the idea of his 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 and Nicobar Islands, Puducherry, Mizoram, Delhi and also headed two organisations Delhi prisons and CBI,” he said.
In his letter to the government, Mr Verma said that it may be noted that he would have already superannuated as on July 31, 2017, and was only serving the government as director CBI till January 31, 2019, as the post had a fixed tenure. “The undersigned is no longer director, CBI, and has already crossed his superannuation age for DG, fire services, civil defence and home guards. Accordingly, the undersigned may be deemed as superannuated with effect from today,” he wrote.
On Thursday, Mr Kharge, who had opposed Mr Verma’s appointment as the CBI director in 2017, had not sided with the other two members of high-powered panel in shifting him from the agency.
The Congress leader had instead asked for extending Mr Verma’s tenure by 77 days, a period equal to his forced leave, besides advocating that Mr Verma should be given a chance to appear before the committee and present his case.