A premier investigating agency of world’s largest democracy entangled with an ugly, out-in-public fight between the two topmost officials, both trying to discredit each other while the leadership looks over- seems like a perfect flimsy story. The fact is, it is happening right now in India’s leading investigative agency Central Bureau of the investigation. The public fallout between the No.1 of CBI i.e. CBI director Alok Verma and No.2 i.e. Special Director Rakesh Asthana has now reached to a point where the agency seems to be having an unprecedented face-off. This CBI vs CBI infight reached its zenith when the agency filed an FIR against its own Special Director Rakesh Asthana and even raided its own officer in connection with the case.
Rakesh Asthana however, levelled same charges of corruption and misconduct against the CBI director Alok Verma. Asthana even said that there is a conspiracy being hatched to malign him. Rakesh Asthana’s first shot to fame came with the arrest of former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fodder scam. Asthana was only 36 when he sent Lalu Yadav, the then CM of Bihar to jail in the fodder scam case. After this, he was considered one of the boldest officers on the block. He also handled Asaram Case and 2008 Ahmedabad blast case.
But as much as he is hailed for his cases, there is his share of controversies too. He was named in the infamous 2011 diary scandal. He has several accusations of bribery on him. However, the most consistent allegation on him is being a pawn at the hands of PM Modi and Shah since his Gujarat days. He was part of the Supreme Court-monitored SIT which gave Narendra Modi clean chit in the Godhra kaand. Since then, he is said to be close to the duo. His appointment as the Special director of CBI despite the opposition from Alok Verma is also said to be because of his proximity to the Prime Minister.
The CBI vs CBI fight is no more internal. The PMO stepped in but it is already too late. The ugly side of the bureaucracy tainted by political infiltration is for all to see. It is not that the previous government didn’t play with the CBI. Indeed, Supreme Court once called it a caged parrot.
But for this unprecedented case, the dots are in front of us, how to connect them to see the larger picture is up to all of us.