New Delhi (IANS): CBI Director Alok Verma was divested of his charge, as he was not cooperating with the Central Vigilance Commission, and had created "wilful obstructions" in the functioning of the anti-corruption watchdog, the government said on Wednesday.
"The CVC observed that the CBI Director has been non-cooperative with the Commission, non-compliant with the requirements or directions of the Commission and has created wilful obstructions in the functioning of the Commission, which is a Constitutional body," Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said in an official release.
The CVC also observed that Verma was not cooperating in making available records or files sought by the Commission relating to serious allegations, the Ministry added.
The "grave" allegations of corruption by senior functionaries against one another had vitiated the official eco-system of the organisation.
"The environment of faction feud has reached its peak in the CBI, leading to a potential loss of credibility and reputation of the premier investigating agency. It also vitiated the working environment of the organisation, which has deep and visible impact on the overall governance," the government said.
Considering the extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances, the CVC, in exercise of its powers, passed orders divesting Verma and Rakesh Asthana, the CBI Special Director of the functions, power, duty and supervisory role in respect of cases already being investigated under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act until further orders.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said that an SIT will be formed to go into mutual allegations of bribery levelled by Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana in keeping with the principle that those accused will not probe the charges or supervise investigation into charges against them.
"The government having carefully examined and evaluated the material before it and in the interest of equality, fair play and principles of natural justice, decided to divest Verma and Asthana of their functions, power, duty and supervisory role in any manner as CBI Director and Special Director, respectively."
The government on Wednesday sent both Verma and Asthana on "leave".
The government took this decision as an interim measure which will subsist "till the CVC concludes its inquiry into all issues".
The Centre has asked CBI Joint Director M. Nageshwar Rao to take over the duties and functions of the CBI Director.