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CVC still waiting for CBI report on year-old secret note with allegations against Asthana

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New Delhi| The Central Vigilance Commission has said it is still awaiting an action taken a report from the CBI on a “secret note” carrying allegations against Rakesh Asthana which it had received during a selection committee meeting last year to consider his elevation as Special Director of the investigation agency.

In its order on Monday recommending divesting CBI Director Alok Verma of all his powers, the CVC said it had sent the note to Verma seeking a report but it was yet to receive the same despite “several reminders” and the matter could be taken to logical conclusion only after receipt of the reply.

The secret note was given to the CVC during the selection committee meeting held on October 21, 2017 to consider the then Assistant Director Asthana’s promotion as Special Director, but is not clear who submitted that note.

The CVC said it had written to Verma on September 25, 2018 to furnish an interim report on investigation carried out so far on the allegations levelled in the secret note.

But the agency failed to produce any such documents or investigations which could corroborate those allegations against Asthana, it added.

In a unanimous decision, the selection committee at that time had cleared Asthana’s elevation as Special Director and a public interest litigation against its decision was rejected by the Supreme Court.

“The Committee discussed and the CBI Director (Alok Verma) who was to be consulted has been consulted. He has given his frank and free views on all the categories of the appointments to be made,” the Central Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdary had said at a press conference after the meeting.

Chowdary had said Verma’s views were taken into account and unanimous recommendations were made to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) for the elevation.

“The selection committee has recommended the appointment as per the agenda…Whatever views he (CBI Director) has given whether you consider it as acceptance or dissent, they have been taken note of… Whether his views were opposed or in favour for somebody that is not appropriate for me to comment on,” he had said.

Chowdary had said the clearance from a CVC committee is required for the appointment and promotion of officers from the ranks of Superintendent of Police up to Special Director.

The five-person committee comprised the Central Vigilance Commissioner as Chairperson, besides two vigilance commissioners and two secretaries of the Government of India — Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training, and Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, as members.

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Tremendous efforts made to catch absconding former minister: Bihar DGP

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Manju Verma

Patna | Under fire from the Supreme Court over its inability to arrest absconding former minister Manju Verma, the Bihar Police on Friday asserted that it was making tremendous efforts to nab the suspended Janata Dal (United) leader.

The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the state police for failing to arrest Verma in connection with an Arms Act case, which cropped up in course of the CBI probe into the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal. It directed Director General of Police K S Dwivedi to appear before it in person on November 27 if she was not nabbed by then.

In reply to a query, the DGP said Friday attempts were being made to secure her arrest. “We are making tremendous efforts.” Dwivedi said no time-frame could be given for the arrest of any person wanted in a criminal case. “Though we appreciate the concern expressed by the Supreme Court, we hope to trace her very soon.”

The officer said some objection was raised from Verma’s side before a court in Begusarai district when they tried to initiate proceedings for attaching her property. “We are working to get that resolved,” he added. The former minister had last week moved an application before the Begusarai court, through her lawyer, pleading that she not be treated as an absconder as she was not evading arrest, but trying to seek relief as per law.

Verma had stepped down as the minister for social welfare in August, following reports that her husband, Chandrashekhar Verma, had close links with Brajesh Thakur , the prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal.

During a raid by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at her in-laws’ residence in Begusarai, a huge quantity of ammunition was recovered, following which the agency lodged an FIR against the couple. The former ministers’ pleas for anticipatory bail have been rejected by the lower court as well as the Patna High Court. Her husband surrendered before a Begusarai court last month after several weeks of dodging the police.

An embarrassed JD(U), headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, said Thursday it had suspended her from the primary membership of the party. Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Hindustani Awam Morcha have accused the ruling party of shielding the absconding two-time MLA.

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Sabarimala row : Police have asked me to return to Pune: Trupti Desai

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Kochi | Amid over a 12-hour stand-off with devotees and others, including BJP workers, at the airport here vowing not to let her proceed to the Sabarimala shrine, activist Trupti Desai said police have asked her to return to Pune. The development comes even as the doors to the Lord Ayyappa temple opened for the “Mandala Makkaravillakku” puja.

The activist, who reached here around 4.40 am along with six young women en route to the hill temple, has been unable to come out of the airport, with the protesters saying her group would not be allowed to proceed to the Sabarimala temple. Desai said police officers held a meeting with her. “Police have requested me to return to Pune,” she told reporters. Desai said she will announce her decision by 6.30 pm.

Protesting local BJP leaders at the airport said the devotees, including women, would not let Desai and her colleagues to come out of the airport and proceed to Sabarimala temple. They alleged that Desai and her team came here to violate the centuries-old custom of the temple that prevented entry of women and girls in the age group of 10 and 50. Talking to the media over the phone, Desai earlier said she would not go back without darshan at the Lord Ayyappa temple.

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#Watch: “Swamiye Ayyappa” chants echo outside Cochin airport as Trupti Desai waits inside

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The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Trupti Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”. 

 

Cochin| The crowd of protesters outside the Cochin airport is swelling since the morning to oppose the activist Trupti Desai from entering Sabarimala. The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”.

On the other hand, Trupti Desai vowed to not go back without the Darshan of Lord Ayyappa at the Sabarimala Temple. However, several Hindu organizations have indicated at statewide protests if she tries to enter the hill shrine.

Currently, Desai along with a group of women activists accompanying her is waiting at the Cochin airport. The stalment has continued since morning. The Kerala police tried to take her out safely through cargo area but it failed as the protesters caught a wind of the move.

Watch: Devotees chant “Swamiye Ayyappa” outside Cochin airport during the protest.

 

Watch: Activist Trupti Desai waits at the Cochin airport

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