Editorial

Puppet to Muppet

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/14/2019 11:29:24 AM IST

 Within 24 hours of getting his job back as the CBI director, Alok Verma , who was reinstated by the Supreme Court on January 8 again found himself ousted on January 11, by the high-powered selection panel headed by prime minister Narendra Modi and which included Justice A.K.Sikri and Leader of opposition Congress Mallikarjun Kharge. Alok Verma, a 1979-batch AGMUT cadre IPS officer, was shunted out of the post on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty. His removal was not without politics and acrimony. The Supreme Court had faulted the manner in which Verma was sent on leave on the basis of the CVC recommendation on October 23 last year and asked the three-member panel with PM, CJI and Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge as members. CJI Ranjan Gogoi recused himself as he was the judge in a petition filed by Kharge challenging Verma’s removal. He then nominated the second next seniormost judge Justice A.K.Sikri to the panel. The ouster of Verma as CBI chief is no doubt an important objective of the Modi government. There were eight charges against Verma in the CVC report presented before the committee. When the judge found merit in the CVC recommendation and charges against Verma, his fate was sealed even though Mallikarjun Kharge dissented. The three-member high powered panel decided by a 2-1 vote to that Verma should not continue as the head of the premier agency. The war in the CBI has turned out to be a case of political master gunning its own appointee who has purportedly only tried to exercise initiative and independence to probe the Rafale deal. The strategy, which the party uses, is to set up one against the other. Rakesh Asthana who was under probe by Verma on various allegations, also set up his own probe on Verma. The infighting and outfighting in the CBI and with the government has created history where an incumbent CBI director was removed, re-instated and then again removed within three months. There is much that needs to be exposed regarding the vital role by the CVC in the ongoing CBI vrs CBI war and Verma Vrs Government war. The Modi government took over keen interest in having Verma removed since it is apprehensive that he could reopen probes against rival Rakesh Asthana and eventually have him arrested in typical CBI style. Nageswar Rao, the government’s chosen one, though junior has been reinstated as temporary CBI chief, a situation that indicates how the government has been focussed in keeping the agency under its total control. The challenge ahead for the Modi government is that the new CBI director can be appointed only by the high-powered selection committee and Kharge is a key member in it. With the Congress and BJP openly at loggerheads, it is unlikely that Kharge will agree to any name proposed by the government. This could only enable more political drama and uncertainty over the country’s premier investigating agency in the coming days. It is now up to the Supreme Court to step in and ensure that the probe agency is rescued from political clutches.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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