In the midst of internal fight between the CBI top boss Alok Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana, the government on Wednesday stepped in and appointed joint director M Nageshwar Rao as interim chief of the investigating agency with immediate effect. Both Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana have been sent on leave. Verma and Asthana have been “divested of all powers”. It is probably the first such case in the history of the country’s premier probe agency.
The Prime Minister-led Appointments Committee’s order means that the government has sidelined all the three additional directors, number three in the agency hierarchy, to give charge of the post of the director to joint director M Nageshwar Rao. The feud between Verma and Asthana came out in open after the CBI lodged an FIR against the latter on a complaint by Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, a witness in the case of meat exporter Moin Qureshi who is facing a number of cases of money laundering and corruption.
Notably, a special investigation team (SIT) headed by Asthana was investigating the Qureshi case. Sana has claimed that he paid Rs 3 crore to Asthana through a Dubai-based middleman Manoj Prasad and his brother, Somesh Prasad, to save him in the case. Nageshwar Rao, IPS, was working as joint director in the agency. He will look after the duties and functions of director CBI and shall take over the duties and functions with immediate effect. Nageshwar Rao, who is a 1986 batch Odisha cadre officer, hails from Warangal district in Telangana State. He is a chemistry post graduate from Osmania University, Hyderabad.