Alok Kumar Verma was stripped of his powers by Centre and sent on leave on Wednesday .
New Delhi: Four men belonging to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) were caught outside the official residence of CBI director (sent on leave by the government).
Alok Kumar Verma, a 1979 batch Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre IPS officer, was stripped of his powers by the central government and sent on leave on Wednesday.
While officials of the Union home ministry said the four men were on ‘routine, covert’ duties in the high security area outside Verma’s 2 Janpath residence. Sources further said all four men were taken away by police and questioned. The IB is entrusted with the responsibility of collecting intelligence on situations that may affect public order and internal security.
Among other things, its units are ‘routinely’ depl-oyed in ‘sensitive areas’, said a senior home ministry official. At times, this is done in association with local law enforcement agencies, and at other times, a surprise element is built in, he added. This also enables law enforcement agencies to respond immediately to developing situations.
Meanwhile, top CBI officers Verma and Asthana, who have been divested of their powers, continue to be the director and special director of the agency respectively, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said on Thursday.
M. Nageswar Rao is only an interim arrangement until CVC decides on its probe involving both, he added.
Mr Verma has approached the Supreme Court seeking quashing of a late night government order of October 23 which divested him and his bete noire Asthana of their powers and Rao was handed over his duties and functions.
In an unprecedented development in the CBI's 55-year-history, both have been sent were sent on leave. The Centre had taken the decision following a recommendation from anti-corruption watchdog CVC, which unanimously felt that Verma was creating "wilful obstruction" in functioning of the Commission which was looking into complaints of Asthana against the CBI director"
After the mid-night drama which benched him, Verma approached the Supreme Cort contending that divestment of his powers "overnight" amounts to interference in the independence of the agency. "M Nageswar Rao is looking after duties and functions of the Director in the interim period till the time CVC looks into allegations and counter allegations," the CBI spokesperson said. The petition of Verma and NGO Common Cause, represented by senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, against the decision of the Centre to divest him of his powers is coming before the Supreme Court Friday.
However, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said forcing CBI director Alok Verma to go on indefinite leave was 'an illegal act' and alleged that it was done as the government panicked over the possibility of him investigating the Rafale jet deal.
Addressing a press conference here, he claimed that Verma's removal was an "insult" to the Constitution, the chief justice of India and the leader of the opposition. The move was "illegal", the Congress chief said. The Congress will hold protests outside all CBI offices across the country on Friday, demanding reinstatement of its ousted director Alok Verma and an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "destroying the image of the premier investigating agency". In a letter to all Congress general secretaries, state unit chiefs, legislature party leaders, AICC General Secretary Ashok Gehlot has asked them to hold demonstrations against the BJP government outside all CBI offices across the country.