Interim CBI Chief’s Decisions Including Mass Transfers On Hold: Top Court

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M Nageswar Rao cannot take any policy decisions in CBI while Alok Verma probe is still on

New Delhi:

M Nageswar Rao, who has been interim chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for three days, can take no policy decisions and will only be a rubber stamp following the Supreme Court's order today.

Hearing CBI director Alok Verma's petition challenging his forced leave and the appointment of Nageswar Rao as interim chief, the court said decisions taken by Mr Rao since his takeover will not be implemented.

The decisions, which included the mass transfer of CBI officers investigating corruption charges against Mr Verma's deputy Rakesh Asthana, will be scrutinised, the judges indicated.

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All decisions taken by Mr Rao have to be placed before the court in a sealed cover.

Mr Rao took charge as interim chief of the country's top investigating agency around 2 am on Tuesday night following a government order giving him Mr Verma's powers. He signed off on a series of orders overnight, which included the sealing and search of the CBI director's office, and the transfer of key officers; one officer was dispatched to Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar, which provoked allegations that he had been exiled to "kala paani" — the term for a notorious cellular jail in the seaside town.

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CBI chief Alok Verma was abruptly sent on forced leave and replaced by interim chief M Nageswar Rao

The CBI bloodbath followed days of a one-of-a-kind feud between the CBI's top two — Mr Verma and Mr Asthana — with each accusing the other of corruption. The battle peaked when the CBI filed a case against Mr Asthana, accusing him of taking bribe from a businessman being investigated by the agency.

Mr Asthana in turn wrote to the government that it was his boss who was corrupt and was trying to frame him.

Nageswar Rao, a joint director, was overnight promoted to the top role, even if temporarily.

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