The Home Ministry has decided to take action against former CBI boss Alok Verma for not taking charge as Director General, Fire Services after he was sacked as the chief of the country's premier investigation agency earlier this month. All retirement benefits of Alok Verma will be put on hold and disciplinary proceedings will be initiated against him for not joining the new posting, a senior official in the ministry told NDTV.
Alok Verma had refused to take charge of Fire Services and quit a day after he was removed as CBI boss by a high-profile panel led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which said as CBI chief, he had "not acted with the integrity expected of him".
A senior minister said Alok Verma's resignation will not be accepted till the investigation against him is completed.
Alok Verma immediately responded, reiterating his position that he had already retired from the service on July 31, 2017 and was serving the tenure of CBI director. "The undersigned has already crossed the age of 61 years and continued to serve even after his superannuation date as Director, CBI which is a tenure post for a period of two years," Alok Verma wrote in a letter accessed by news agency Press Trust of India.
Alok Verma was to retire on January 31. "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," he had said in a statement after his sacking.
Alok Verma was removed just two days after the Supreme Court reinstated him as CBI chief. In October, he had been sent on forced leave by the government in a midnight swoop in which officers of his team were transferred and an interim director took over.
Mr Verma challenged the decision in the Supreme Court, arguing that he had a fixed two-year tenure and only the PM-led selection panel could remove him. The court cancelled the government's order but said the selection panel must decide on his status, based on a vigilance report on allegations of bribery raised by his number two officer, Rakesh Asthana.
In the three-member panel, Justice AK Sikri - nominated by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi who had recused himself - voted with PM Modi for Mr Verma's removal. Congress's Mallikarjun Kharge, representing the opposition, put up a dissenting note saying that the vigilance inquiry had not found evidence that Mr Verma was guilty of bribery.
The opposition has questioned the process, wondering why Mr Verma was not allowed to present his case before the panel.
The high-powered panel will meet today to select a new CBI chief.