Alok Verma Quits From Service, Cites Scuttling Of Natural Justice
NEW DELHI : Exciting but turbulent times appear to have gripped the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s premier investigating agency which has taken severe beating on counts of its credibility, image and prestige.
Legal tussle, handing of its murky affairs by the NDA government and internal bickering among its top echelons have unfolded in public domain over the past six months or so. Things remain unsettled even now.
A day after he was removed as the CBI chief by the select panel, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Alok Verma on Friday resigned from the service. Barely 36 hours after he was restored as CBI Director by the Supreme Court, Mr Verma was fired 2-1 by the Prime Minister led select panel and transferred to a non-descript department of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards as its chief. He refused to take up his transfer and dashed off his resignation letter to the government.
“Natural justice was scuttled and the entire process was turned upside down in ensuring that the undersigned is removed from the post of the Director,” Mr Verma wrote in his resignation letter to Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training. He called the situation a moment of “collective introspection”, probably sending a signal to the country’s bureaucracy and top police officials.
Here are excerpts from his resignation letter:
Vide order dated 10th of January 2019, the undersigned has been posted as the Director General, Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards and transferred out of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
1. The Selection Committee has not provided the undersigned an opportunity to explain the details as recorded by the CVC before arriving at the decision. Natural justice was scuttled and the entire process was turned upside down in ensuring that the undersigned is removed from the post of the Director CBI. 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. It may be noted that the CVC only forwarded a purportedly signed statement of the complainant, and the complainant never came before Hon’ble Justice (Retd.) A.K. Patnaik (supervising the enquiry). Also, Justice Patnaik has concluded that the findings/ conclusions of the report are not his.
2. Institutions are one of the strongest and most visible symbols of our democracy and it is no exaggeration that the CBI is one of the most important organisations in India today. The decision 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.
3. As a career bureaucrat, it is the idea of my 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 & Nicobar Islands, Puducherry, Mizoram, Delhi and also headed two organisations Delhi Prisons and the CBI. I have been lucky to have received the invaluable support from the forces that I have headed, which resulted in outstanding achievements having a direct bearing on the performance of the force and their welfare. I would like to thank the Indian Police Service and especially the organisations that I have served.
4. Also, it may be noted that the undersigned would have already superannuated as on July 31, 2017 and was only serving the Government as Director, CBI till January 31, 2019, as the same was a fixed tenure role. .
The undersigned is no longer Director, CBI and has already crossed his superannuation age for DG Fire Services, Civil Defence & Home Guards. Accordingly, the undersigned may be deemed as superannuated with effect from today.”
His removal and resignation have already stirred a political storm with both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress trading charges and counter charges. The CBI has got back its interim Director and the agency now awaits a full time new Director by this month-end. The Government has shortlisted a panel of nearly 20 senior IPS officers belonging to 1984 and 1985 batches. Four names will be shortlisted from these and placed before the selection panel from which one will be picked up to head the CBI.
All eyes will remain on the CBI in the next few weeks to come. Also, the agency will need to work overtime to regain its past glory and earn the confidence of the nation and people. Once called “caged parrot” by the Supreme Court, the CBI has to defend its autonomy and insulate itself from external influences.