The internal war between the two top officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation escalated on Friday with the probe agency calling a complaint by its second-in-command Rakesh Asthana against its chief Alok Verma "malicious, frivolous" and an attempt to intimidate agency officers probing the former's role in six cases.
The rather unusual statement was issued by the CBI as reports of Mr Asthana filing a complaint before the Central Vigilance Commission or CVC alleging interference in the investigations undertaken by the special investigation team under him surfaced in the media.
"It is stated that the CVC has sought for certain case files from the CBI on the basis of a complaint filed by the Special Director, CBI. In its response to the CVC letter, the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of CBI has pointed out that the complaint is an attempt by the complainant to intimidate the officers of CBI who are investigating his role in at least half a dozen cases," the CBI stated.
The probe agency in fact went a step further when it suggested that the CVC should not entertain the complaint.
"CVC should opine on the maintainability of the complaint and consider it malicious and frivolous in order to protect the integrity of the organisation," the agency stated.
"Irrespective of the maintainability of the complaint, the CBI has provided most of the files as requested by the CVC and the remaining will be submitted soon," it said.
Mr Asthana, in his complaint to the CVC, had alleged that the CBI director had stopped raids on Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Yadav in Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation or IRCTC scam.
However, the CBI pointed out in its letter to the CVC that this issue relating to the IRCTC case was raked up earlier also and brought before the Supreme Court on two occasions. The matter was dismissed.
"The allegation of preventing raids against the accused in the IRCTC case is absolutely false. The investigation of the case has resulted in filing a chargesheet before the designated court. This could not have been possible without the explicit approval of the Director CBI," the CBI statement read.
The press release targeting its special director was questioned by many officers of the organisation. "The government needs to put an end to this bickering as it is not good for organisation," said a senior officer.
"The government has to take call. There cannot be two warring officers targeting each other," said another.
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