Three days before a high-powered committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi selects the new chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the agency's interim chief, Nageswara Rao, has transferred 20 officers, including the officer who was investigating the 2G scam case.
A transfer order issued by the CBI on January 21 mentions that those officers who have been deputed by any constitutional court of the country to investigate, inquire or supervise any particular case will continue doing that.
The 20 officers who have been transferred include 13 Superintendents of Police and seven Assistant Superintendents of Police.
A Saravanan, who was investigating the Tamil Nadu Sterlite police firing case in which 13 people were killed in 2018, has been transferred to the banking, securities and frauds branch in Mumbai. He will continue investigating the case, though, in addition to handling the case of loan default against diamond merchants Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
Another CBI officer, Prem Gautam, who was posted in the special unit in charge of the internal snooping on CBI officers, has been asked to handle the additional charge of deputy director. Meanwhile, Gautam will continue to investigate the economic offences, the PTI reported.
The fresh reshuffle in the premier investigation agency just three days before its new chief is appointed has sparked a controversy especially when interim chief's Nageswara Rao's appointment has also been challenged in the Supreme Court by lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
Bhushan claims that Rao's appointment has not been made as per the rules since he was not appointed according to the reccommendations made by the three-member commitee comprising the PM, Chief Justice of India (or any SC judge nominated by him), and the leader of the largest party in the opposition.
The CJI, Ranjan Gogoi, however recused himself from hearing the petition saying that it will be heard by Court number 2 headed by Jutsitice AK Sikri. Gogoi will be a part of the panel which will select the new CBI chief.
Controversial transfers in CBI challenged in the court?
The transfers of the senior offcials in CBI have been controversial with the senior officials challenging them in the court in the recent past.
The Deputy Superintendent of Police in CBI, AK Bassi, who was probing the corruption charges against another high profile officer, Rakesh Asthana, was transferred to the Anti-Corruption Branch in Port Blair. Bassi, however, moved the Supreme Court against the transfer order of January 11, the Wire reported.