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CBI chief Alok Verma meets CVC, denies corruption charges against him

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New Delhi | CBI Director Alok Verma on Thursday met Central Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdary and is understood to have refuted corruption charges levelled against him by his deputy and special director in the probe agency Rakesh Asthana, officials said.

Verma came to the CVC office around 1 pm and met Chowdary and Vigilance Commissioner Sharad Kumar, they said, without citing any other details.

The Supreme Court had on October 26 asked the Central Vigilance Commission to complete within two weeks its inquiry into allegations against Verma levelled by Asthana.

Verma and Asthana have been sent on leave by the government.

Officials said Asthana also met Chowdary and Kumar, the officials said.

The Commission had recently examined some CBI officials probing crucial cases which figured in Asthana’s complaint of corruption against the probe agency’s chief Verma, they said.

The officials said CBI personnel from the rank of inspector up to the superintendent of police were called and their versions recorded before a senior CVC official.

These officials, who had recorded their statements included those who had handled the Moin Qureshi bribery case, the IRCTC scam, involving former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, the cattle smuggling case in which a senior BSF officer was caught with wands of cash in Kerala.

The Supreme Court had directed that the CVC’s inquiry into the allegations against Verma, who has challenged the government’s decision divesting him of his duties and sending him on leave, would be conducted under the supervision of retired apex court judge Justice A K Patnaik and this was a “one-time exception”.

The feud between Verma and Asthana escalated recently leading to registration of an FIR against the latter and others including Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, who is in the CBI custody in an alleged bribery case.

The CBI had on October 15 registered the FIR against Asthana for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs 2 crore from Hyderabad-based businessman Sana Sathish Babu which was given through two middlemen Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad to sabotage the probe against meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

On August 24, Asthana, in his complaint to the Cabinet Secretary, had levelled allegations against Verma that he got a bribe of Rs two crore from Sana to help him get some relief from questioning in the matter.

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For million problems in India, there are billion solutions: PM Modi

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Narendra Modi

Mumbai | Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said films and society are reflection of each other and like cinema, India too is changing with times.

The prime minister was speaking at the inauguration of the National Museum of Indian Cinema here. “The country is changing and finding its own solutions. If there are a million problems, there are also a billion solutions,” the PM said.

“Films have an important role in India’s soft power,” Modi said, while narrating how he was struck by popularity of Indian films overseas when he met and interacted with the leaders of foreign countries. He assured the film industry that effective steps are being taken to curb piracy and “camcording”.

“A single-window system for obtaining permissions for film shoots and related matters are on the anvil,” he said. Like the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, there could be a global film summit in India, the prime minister suggested.

“Films also play a big role in the growth of the tourism sector, which gives employment to even the poorest people, even ‘chaiwala’ makes money when tourism grows,” he said.

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Delhi court extends interim protection from arrest to Vadra’s aide till Feb 6

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Robert Vadra

New Delhi | A Delhi court on Saturday extended till February 6 the interim protection from arrest granted to Manoj Arora, a close aide of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, in a money-laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that Arora was cooperating in the probe. “He joined the probe yesterday. So far he is cooperating,” Special Public Prosecutor D P Singh, appearing for the ED, said.

ED’s Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana sought two more weeks for arguments on the application which was allowed by the court. The case relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property — located at 12, Bryanston Square — worth 1.9 million pounds, which is allegedly owned by Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

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Zakir Naik case: ED attaches assets worth Rs 16.40 cr under PMLA

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New Delhi | The ED has attached fresh assets worth Rs 16.40 crore in connection with its money-laundering probe against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, it said on Saturday.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in a statement, said it had issued a provisional order for attachment of Naik’s assets, located in Mumbai and Pune, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The estimated value of the immovable assets was Rs 16.40 crore, the central probe agency said.

This is the third such attachment in the case by the ED. The agency is probing the case after taking cognisance of an FIR filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against Naik, who is said to be based in Malaysia at present.

With the latest order, the total value of assets attached in the case by the ED stands at Rs 50.49 crore.

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