SC to hear Alok Verma's plea on Oct 26

Alok Verma, who was removed as CBI director Tuesday midnight, approached the Supreme Court Wednesday challenging the Centre’s decision to divest him of powers and send him on leave in view of the internal feud between him and Special Director Rakesh Asthana. Taking note of the appeal immediately, the top court said it will hear his plea on October 26.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph took note of the submissions of lawyer Gopal Shankarnarayan, appearing for Verma, that his plea needed urgent hearing.

Verma also assailed the decision of the government by which Joint Director M Nageshwar Rao has been given charge as head of the CBI. On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court had ordered the probe agency to maintain the status quo on the criminal proceedings initiated against Asthana, who has challenged the FIR lodged against him on bribery allegations.

The feud between Verma and Asthana escalated recently following which the CBI registered an FIR against the Special Director in an alleged bribery case. It also arrested Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar in connection with the case. Asthana was also stripped of all his responsibilities at the agency Tuesday. Asthana, a 1984 batch Indian Police Service officer of Gujarat cadre, is alleged to have demanded a bribe of Rs 5 crore from a Hyderabad-based businessman through two middlemen to help him get off the hook in the Moin Qureshi case.

A Delhi court had on Tuesday allowed CBI to quiz Kumar in custody for seven days. Besides Asthana, theKumar had also approached the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the FIR against him.

Early morning reports said raids were being conducted at the CBI Headquarters in New Delhi and the office was sealed and outsiders were not allowed inside. The 10th and 11th floor of the CBI building were being searched. The offices of both Verma and Asthana have also been sealed.