After four of its officials were dragged and pushed by security personnel at exiled CBI chief Alok Verma's Delhi home -- visuals of which were repeatedly shown on TV -- the Intelligence Bureau said on Thursday that its men were on "routine patrol".
The men, who had waited in two cars since last night outside the 2 Janpath bungalow, were caught and detained by Alok Verma's chief security officer this morning. They were accused by the officer of snooping on Mr Verma, who was sent on forced leave yesterday in a massive escalation of a war between the top two officials of the investigation agency.
Sources say the Intelligence Bureau is upset with the way its officials were dragged by their collars and calls the treatment "absolutely wrong". An official said the video looped by channels was "demoralising" for other officers, who were also upset that the identities of the men were revealed.
"The matter could have been handled in a better way. We told Alok Verma's security officials that the officers are from a different investigative agency, despite that they were ill-treated," an Intelligence Bureau official said.
In an official statement, the agency said it was "routine" for officials to be posted at sensitive areas, given that "the IB is entrusted with the responsibility of collecting intelligence on situations that may affect public order and internal security."
One such unit in early hours of Thursday, stopped on Janpath after noticing an "unusual" collection of people, the statement said. "This was to check why people had collected there. This is a high security zone. Unfortunately, their presence was projected otherwise," the statement said.
The four were handed over to the Delhi Police. They identified themselves as Dheeraj Kumar, Ajay Kumar, Prashant Kumar and Vineet Kumar Gupta.
Identity cards and several mobiles phones were taken away from them.
Alok Verma and his deputy Special Director Rakesh Asthana were divested of their duties on Wednesday amid an unprecedented feud in the agency as the two accused each other of taking bribe in an investigation.