The Modi Govt Either Lied About A CVC Note Against Asthana Or Is Now Hiding It
Either The Note Never Existed Or Has Now Been Buried.
Public attention is now focused on the Supreme Court’s order circumscribing the powers of the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), KV Chowdary and making the interim officiating Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), M Nageshwar Rao appointed by the Modi government a lame duck official, as a time-bound enquiry under a retired Supreme Court judge is completed against CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma who was divested of his charge in a midnight assault by the Modi govt.
What has been missed in the rush of news is that the government press release posted at PIB website on 24 October mentions a CVC order divesting CBI Joint Director, Rakesh Asthana, who is named in a FIR for corruption charges. As per the documents on the case available in public domain – both from the CVC and DoPT – there is no such order passed by the CVC.
Paragraph 4 of the PIB press release posted at 14:33 on 24 October states:
“Considering the extra-ordinary and unprecedented circumstanceswhich has emerged, the Central Vigilance Commissionin exercise of its powers (section 8 of CVC Act, 2003) of superintendence over the functioning of DPSE (CBI), in so far as it relates to the investigation of offences alleged to have been committed under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. has passed orders divesting Shri Alok Kumar Verma, Director, CBI and Shri Rakesh Asthana, Spl. Director, CBI of the functions, power, duty and supervisory role in respect of cases already registered and/or required to be registered and/or being inquired/enquired/investigated under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, until further orders.” (emphasis in original)
While the release says that the CVC has passed such orders against Asthana, the CVC F. No. 018/DP/013-Vig.IX dated 23 October mentioned in DoPT orders – available on DoPT website – has no mention of any direction against Asthana; in paragraph 22, it orders Verma to be divested of his duties. The DoPT order No. 202/22/2018-AVD-II dated 23 October against Asthana also refers to this CVC letter No, while saying that the central government has passed such orders.
Incidentally, a separate DoPT order No. 202/22/2018-AVD-II dated 23 October which states that the government has divested Verma of his powers, also refers to the CVC letter referred to in the DoPT .
Unless there are two CVC orders with the same F. No. of 23 October – one against Verma and one against Asthana – it is clear that the government has tried to mislead the public by stating in its press release that CVC has ordered Asthana to be divested of its duties. And if there is a separate CVC letter containing charges against Asthana and ordering that he be divested of his duties, why has it not been made public?
The big question: Is the Modi government misleading the public or is it hiding CVC’s order against its favourite officer, Asthana? It is high time that the government came clean lest the matter gets tested in the Supreme Court.