Illegally Sacked, Spied Upon and Denied Pension, Former CBI Chief Now Faces RTI Stonewalling
Posted On April 5th, 2022, Posted By - Admin
Illegally Sacked, Spied Upon and Denied Pension, Former CBI Chief Now Faces RTI Stonewalling
New Delhi: Three years after he was removed as director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by a High Powered Committee (HPC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and two chargesheets in corruption cases were filed against him, Alok Kumar Verma is still struggling to obtain information pertaining to these cases through the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Verma’s case is yet another example of how officers who run foul of the government find it tough to get justice or even information through various institutions. Two applications filed by him with the Central Information Commission (CIC) have revealed how after his career was brought to an abrupt end, the government forfeited his entire past service .
Thereupon, all his retirement dues, including leave encashment, pension, medical entitlement and gratuity, as also the General Provident Fund payment were denied to him. It was only when he pursued the matter that the GPF was later released.
18 months on, CIC directs transfer of matter to ‘concerned bench’
The CIC in a recent interim decision on two appeals filed by Verma only directed that the matter be “transferred to the concerned bench for further adjudication”. The ruling was delivered by chief information commissioner Y.K. Sinha over two years after Verma had filed a second appeal in both the cases with the Commission.
Verma had asked for the list of all inquiry officers and inquiry authorities empanelled with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) from 2016 until the date he had filed the application. Verma had also asked for all documents specifying the conditions of appointment of a person as inquiry officer or authority with the MHA.
He had also asked for a certified copy of the application submitted by retired IAS office P.K. Basu for his role/appointment as inquiry officer or inquiry authority with the MHA and the date on which he submitted this application. He had also sought the condition of appointment of Basu as an inquiry authority against him in enquiries arising from the chargesheet dated January 31, 2019 and April 18, 2019.
Further, he had asked for the tenure, emoluments and other benefits extended to Basu for these enquiries.
The CPIO in the MHA had on April 21, 2020 had replied to four of the five points in the RTI application. It said that “two separate disciplinary proceedings initiated by this Ministry against you under Rule 8 of the AIS (D&A) Rules, 1969 are under process”. He added that “furnishing the information under these points may impede the process of inquiry (disciplinary proceeding) initiated against you by this Ministry and therefore the information cannot be given under Section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act, 2005.”
As for the point pertaining to rules and guidelines on the appointment of inquiry officers/ authority by the MHA, the CPIO replied that “the Government is empowered under Rule 8(2) of the AIS (D&A) Rules, 1969 to appoint an Inquiring Authority for holding an inquiry into the charges framed against the All India Services officers (including IPS officers).”
Dissatisfied with the response received from the CPIO, Verma filed his first appeal on May 12, 2020. The first appellate authority, who is the joint secretary of the MHA, upheld the CPIO’s reply on June 11, 2020. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied, Verma approached the CIC with his instant second appeal.
Rakesh Asthana, Narendra Modi, Alok Verma. Photo: PTI/The Wire
MHA admitted forfeiting Verma’s entire past service
In his second application, Verma had asked “in how many cases relating to IPS officers, the complete service of officers have been forfeited after conducting an enquiry including names of such IPS offices and rules applied while forfeiting the services of such officer/ officers.”
He had also asked, “In how many cases relating to IPS officers, the complete services of officers have been forfeited without conducting an enquiry, including names of such IPS officers and rules applied which forfeiting the services of such officer/ officers.”
In response to these two points, the CPIO MHA had replied that “as per the records available, during the last five years, entire past service of Shri Alok Kumar Verma, former IPS (AGMUT 1979) has been forfeited by the Ministry of Home Affairs during the year 2019.” It added that “before forfeiting the service, show cause notice was also served upon him for seeking his explanation.”
MHA said sharing probe details ‘may impede the process’
Verma had also asked for the details of action taken on his two letters sent to the secretary of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and another sent to the MHA. Also, he had sought copies of files and notings pertaining to the initiation of enquiries against him related to the two chargesheets. Also, he had asked for the copies of correspondences exchanged between the MHA and the DoPT in respect of the enquiry against him.
Also, Verma has asked for “copies of all correspondences exchanged between all ministries and departments” on the basis of which his retirement dues (leave encashment, pension, medical entitlement and gratuity, etc.) were not paid to him. To these queries, the ministry responded by saying that two disciplinary proceedings/inquiries were initiated against him and so furnishing the information “may impede the process”. As such, it had sought exemption under Section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act 2005.
Even Verma’s GPF was held back
As for Verma’s last query on the reasons behind the delayed payment of GPF dues to him, the MHA said the matter is under consideration.
The MHA also acknowledged that it forfeited Verma’s “entire past service vide order issued in the year 2019”. Under the circumstances, it said, “The matter regarding the release of GPF dues to you had to be considered by this Ministry in consultation with Department of Legal Affairs, DoPT; Ministry of Labour and Employment; Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare and Department of Expenditure.”
It added that “this ministry approved [the] release of GPF dues to you only on receipt of advices/ comments from these departments/ ministries.”
In 2021, MHA recommended disciplinary action against Verma
Incidentally, in August 2021, the MHA had recommended disciplinary action against Verma. This order came just days after the Gujarat-cadre IPS officer and his former deputy in the CBI, Rakesh Asthana, was appointed as the commissioner of the Delhi police. Asthana’s elevation had come on July 28, 2021, just four days before he was due to retire.
Verma and Asthana were engaged in a bitter fight over corruption charges, which ultimately resulted in the former’s ouster by the HPC. They had accused each other of corruption when Verma was heading the CBI.
The MHA had accused Verma of “misusing” his official position and violating the relevant service rules. It wrote to the DoPT, which is also the nodal department for the CBI, to take disciplinary action against Verma. The DoPT had forwarded the MHA’s recommendation to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), the recruitment body for IPS officers, since it needs to be consulted in matters of imposing penalties.
Connection with the Rafale deal
Though Verma became CBI director on February 1, 2017 for a fixed two-year tenure, he was ousted from his post in October 2018. The month had seen a number of important events.
First, a delegation of former ministers – Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha – along with activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan had met Verma on October 4 to seek registration of an FIR in the Rafale aircraft purchase deal.
A few days later, on October 15, Verma ordered a CBI case against his deputy Asthana on corruption charges.
Former Union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha with senior advocate Prashant Bhushan in New Delhi on September 11, 2018. Photo: PTI/Subhav Shukla
Thereafter on October 23, the prime minister ordered Verma’s removal from the post with effect from the same midnight.
Verma then challenged this order in the Supreme Court, which quashed the government order in early January 2019 and reinstated him with a condition that the high-powered selection committee will decide his fate in a week.
Verma resumed office on January 9, 2019 – after 77 days of forced leave. However, the very next day, on January 10, he was removed from the post and was appointed as the director general of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards – a less significant portfolio. He was set to superannuate at the end of the month.
Instead of accepting the offer, Verma wrote to the government, saying he should be considered as deemed superannuated – as he had completed 60 years, the age of superannuation for DG Fire Services, on July 31, 2017. He said that he “was only serving the government as CBI director until January 31, 2019 as it was a fixed tenure role”. Source:theWire
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O/O THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (ADMIN.)
BUREAU OF POLICE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
BLOCK NO. 11, 3/4TH FLOOR
CGO COMPLEX, LODHI ROAD
NEW DELHI - 110003
O/O THE SR. ADMINISTRIATIVE OFFICER
DR. RAM MANOHAR LOHIA HOSPITAL
POST GRADUATE INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
(FORMERLY WILLINGTON HOSPITAL) A CENTRAL GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL
BABA KHARAK SINGH MARG,
NEAR GURUDWARA BANGLA SAHIB,
CONNAUGHT PLACE, NEW DELHI, DELHI - 110001
O/O THE REGISTRAR OF COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES,GOVT.OF NCT OF DELHI
PARLIAMENT STREET, NEW DELHI PIN CODE - 110001
SHRI J.G. SUBRAMANIAN (CPIO)
THE PRESIDENT’S SECRETARIAT,
NEW DELHI, INDIA – 110004
DIRECTORATE GENERAL OF TRAINING (DGT)
MINISTRY OF SKILL DEVELOPMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
SHRAM SHAKTI BHAWAN RAFI MARG, NEW DELHI -110001
REVENUE DEPARTMENT (HQ) GOVT.OF NCT OF DELHI
5-SHAM NATH MARG DELHI – 110054
THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR& CPIO
ALL INDIA COUNCIL FOR TECHNICAL EDUCATION NEW DELHI
NELSON MANDELA MARG, VASANT KUNJ,
NEW DELHI PIN CODE -110070
O/O THE JOINT SECRETARY
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION MHRD
SHASTRI BHAWAN NEW DELHI – 110001
O/O THE PRINCIPAL CONTROLLER OF COMMUNICATION
ACCOUNTS, (PR. CCA) DELHI REGION,
PRASAD NAGAR, NEW DELHI PIN CODE -110005
O/O THE ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER OF POLICE,
CRIME AGAINST WOMEN CELL,
WEST DISTRICT POLICE POST,
KRITI NAGAR, NEW DELHI-110005
SHRI B.R. JARODIYA
MINISTRY OF ELECTRONICS & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
ELECTRONICS NIKETAN, 6, CGO COMPLEX,
LODHI ROAD, NEW DELHI PIN CODE - 110003
THE CPIO&INSPECTING OFFICER
CENTRAL BOARD OF DIRECT TAXES,
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, MINISTRY OF FINANCE,
NORTH BLOCK, NEW DELHI, 110001
DIRECTORATE OF HIGHER EDUCATION
GOVT. OF NCT OF DELHI
B –WING, 2ND FLOOR, 5-SHAM NATH MARG,
DELHI PIN CODE -54
JOINT DIRECTOR (ADMN)
HQ DGBR/Pers Dte
Seema Sadak Bhawan,
Ring Road Delhi Cantt,
New Delhi 110010
UNDER SECRETARY, (PESB)
D/O.PERSONNEL & TRAINING
CGO COMPLEX, LODHI ROAD NEW DELHI 110003
DIRECTORATE OF EDUCATION,(PRIVATE SCHOOL BRANCH)
GOVERNMENT OF NCT OF DELHI
OLD SECRETARIAT, DELHI- 110054
THE CPIO& DIRECTOR
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE & COOPERATION
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FARMERS WELFARE,KRISHI BHAWAN
RAJENDRA PRASAD ROAD,NEW DELHI-110001
O/O THE ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER OF POLICE SECTOR 3 ROHINI
DELHI PIN CODE – 110085
THE PIO & SUPERINTENDENT(PHQ-I)
OF THE DIRECTOR GENERAL (PRISONS),
PRISONS HEADQUARTERS,TIHAR, NEW DELHI -110064
THE PIO & ADDL.DCP-I/EAST DISTT.
OFFICE INSTITUTIONAL AREA MANDAWALI,
FAZALPUR,PATPARGANJ DELHI – 110092
O/O THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR GENERAL
UIDAI REGIONAL OFFICE, DELHI
GATE NO. 3, GROUND FLOOR,
METRO STATION PRAGATI MAIDAN,
NEW DELHI PIN CODE - 110001
THE UNDER SECRETARY & CPIO (SBM-IV) DIVISION
MINISTRY OF DRINKING WATER AND SANITATION GOVT. OF INDIA,
C WING, 4TH FLOOR, PANDIT DEENDAYAL ANTYODAYA BHAWAN,
CGO COMPLEX LODHI ROAD,NEW DELHI - 110003
O/O THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY(CTET,JNVST)
CTET, JNV & MISC EXAMS UNIT
PS 1-2, INSTITUTIONAL AREA, I.P. EXTENSION,
PATPARGANJ, DELHI - 110092
O/O THE DIRECTOR
ROOM NO. 520,A WING,NIRMAN BHAWAN
MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE
GOVT OF INDIA NEW DELHI -110011
EMPLOYEES’ PROVIDENT FUND ORGANIZATION
HEAD OFFICE NEW DELHI
PIN CODE – 110066
CHIEF GENERAL MANAGER (LPG), DSO
DELHI & HARYANA STATE OFFICE
INDIAN OIL CORPORATION LIMITED
WORLD TRADE CENTRE
BARAKHAMBA ROAD NEW DELHI -110001
O/O THE DEPUTY TOWN PLANNER, UDHYOG BHAWAN PATPARGANJ
EAST DELHI PIN CODE – 110091
O/O THE APO RRC
RAILWAY RECRUITMENT CELL (RRC)
LAJPAT NAGAR-I, NEW DELHI- 110024
THE S.E (BM-I)
ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT (I)-CE
NEW DELHI MUNICIPAL COUNCIL
ROOM NO. 1703,17TH FLOOR,
PALIKA KENDRA, SANSAD MARG,
NEW DELHI PIN CODE - 110001
THE PIO & ADE(ACT-II)
ROOM NO. I I,
DIRECTORATE OF EDUCATION,ACT-11 (AIDED) BRANCH,
OLD SECRETARIAT, DELHI - 110054
THE CPIO & UNDER SECRETARY TO HFM
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & FAMILY WELFARE, GOVT.OF INDIA
7- B MOTI LAL NEHRU MARG, NEW DELHI PIN CODE - 110011
O/O THE ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER SHAHDARA (NORTH) ZONE
MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF DELHI
SHAHDARA (NORTH) ZONE
MCD BUILDING, KESHAV CHOWK,
SHAHDARA, DELHI PIN CODE -110032
THE CPIO & UNDER SECRETARY, (E-I) & E-I(B) ALL ESTABLISHMENT
MINISTRY OF ROAD TRANSPORT & HIGHWAYS
TRANSPORT BHAWAN 1, PARLIAMENT STREET
NEW DELHIPIN CODE -110001
THE CPIO & UNDER SECRETARY
MINISTRY OF MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES
(COORDINATION SECTION) GOVT.OF INDIA
UDYOG BHAVAN, NEW DELHI PIN CODE -110011
UNDER SECRETARY (RTI)
MINISTRY OF YOUTH AFFAIRS AND SPORTS
ROOM NO. 15-C,SHASTRI BHAWAN
NEW DELHI PIN CODE – 110001
O/O THE CHIEF COMMISSIONER (AR),CUSTOMS, EXCISE & SERVICE TAX
APPELLATE TRIBUNAL, WEST BLOCK NO.2, WING-2,
R.K. PURAM, NEW DELHI PIN CODE - 110022
O/O THE ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER (MCD), NAJAFGARH ZONE,
SOUTH DELHI MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, NAJAFGARH,
NEW DELHI PIN CODE -110043