On Thursday, Central Bureau of Investigation Director Alok Verma ordered the transfer of five officers of the agency, according to several media reports.
Joint Director Ajay Bhatnagar, Deputy Inspector General MK Sinha, Deputy Inspector General Tarun Gauba, Joint Director Murugesan and Additional Director AK Sharma were the officers transferred by Verma, agency sources told ANI.
News18 reported that DIG Sinha requested that he be recused from the AC3 division which is looking into the case of Special Director Rakesh Asthana's corruption charges. He has been given charge of AC1 and additional charge of the Banking Security Fraud cell. DIG Gauba and Murugesan will now supervise the probe against Asthana. Anish Prasad continues as Deputy Director of administration at the CBI headquarters, while KR Chaurasia will head the Special Unit-I which is in charge of surveillance and Ajay Bhatnagar was given additional charge of training, News18 further reported.
Verma, who joined office after a 77-day exile on Wednesday, issued two orders "withdrawing" almost all the transfers ordered by the CBI's additional director M Nageswar Rao on 24 October, 2018, and 3 January, 2019.
On Thursday, suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police Devendra Kumar, a co-accused in the Asthana bribery case, approached the Delhi High Court against Verma's decision to annul these transfers.
Rao assumed office in the wake of the unprecedented late-night order on 23 October, 2018, which ousted Verma and which was later set aside by the Supreme Court.
Verma's transfer orders come at a time when it was largely thought that his wings would be clipped after the apex court order that reinstated him limited his activities to non-policy decisions. Verma has fewer than three weeks left in office and is scheduled to retire on 31 January.
Meanwhile, a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on Thursday for the second time to decide Verma's fate. The other members of the committee include Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice A K Sikri, who was nominated by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to represent him. The panel's meet held Wednesday remained inconclusive, PTI said.