What Does CBI Chief Alok Verma’s Reinstatement Mean for the Government?


What Does CBI Chief Alok Verma’s Reinstatement Mean for the Government?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam


BI raids CBI” reads like a typo, the kind of headline that slips past a tired, sleepless copy-editor at the end of their shift. But as the drama that has been unfolding in the country’s top investigative agency since October proved, not only is the country’s top investigative agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation, actually performing raids in its own offices, there is a gaping rift between factions at the very top of the CBI’s hierarchy. The idea of the CBI raiding itself might sound farcical, but in order to understand what prompted the agency to score an own goal, we need to meet the cast of characters behind all the drama.

We start with CBI chief Alok Verma, who was reinstated to his post by the Supreme Court today after the central government passed a midnight order in October to send him on forced leave. Verma, a former Delhi police commissioner, took up his current post in February 2017. October found Verma living the dream of countless Twitter trolls as he met with PM Modi in person. Modi had issued the summons in order to mediate in the ongoing struggle between Verma and his second-in-command at the CBI, Rakesh Asthana. Verma met with the PM alone, where he recommended the removal of Asthana from the post of Special Director, a request he reportedly later reiterated in writing.