CBI chief Alok Verma, his deputy Rakesh Asthana and several other officers were sent on leave.
Justifying the overnight move to send the CBI's top two officers on leave, the government today called it a move to ensure fairness and the "institutional integrity" of the country's top investigating agency.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley, articulating the government's first response to a barrage of questions and allegations after the CBI move, said:"…to maintain the fairness of an impartial probe, as well as to maintain the highest standard of integrity of the country's premier investigating agency, it was necessary that the two seniormost officers involved must sit out on leave till an impartial investigation is complete."
Mr Jaitley said there were allegations against both CBI director Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana, which needed to be investigated.
Arun Jaitley said the CBI's institutional integrity has to be maintained after the top two officers were controversially sent on leave.
CBI chief Alok Verma, his deputy Rakesh Asthana and several other officers were sent on leave in a dramatic overnight strike by the government in the middle of an extraordinary battle within the country's top investigating agency. M Nageswar Rao took over as interim director just after a government order at 1.45 am, which has been challenged by Alok Verma in court.
The Supreme Court will hear the CBI director's petition on Friday.
"The two seniormost officers being on leave is purely an interim measure and will return at the end of the impartial probe, subject to their innocence," said the minister.