The Central Vigilance Commissioner K.V. Chowdary’s role has become central to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) mess considering it was the order issued by him that divested CBI Director Alok Verma of his powers on October 23, 2018. The order has now been deemed illegal by the Supreme Court which reinstated Verma as the CBI chief on January 8, 2019.
The Select Committee comprising of the Prime Minister, Justice AK Sikri and the Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge is to decide the fate of Verma, on the basis of the report submitted by the CVC. It is imperative that considering the seriousness of the aspersions cast against the CVC’s motives, the allegations against him be looked at to get a holistic picture:
Verma had filed an FIR against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana following which, Asthana filed a complaint against Verma on the basis of documents that the CBI itself noted were forged by Asthana and his team. However, the CVC based his order against Verma on the basis of this complaint.
It appears that the CVC is attempting to shield Asthana, and the same has been pointed out by Verma himself. As per a report in The Wire, Verma noted in his petition before the SC that “the CVC and DoPT under the PMO overrode his objections to Asthana’s appointment as the special director of the CBI in 2017. This, despite the fact that he had pointed out that at least six cases of corruption against Asthana were already being probed by the CBI itself.” Read the full report here.
CBI DIG Manish Kumar Sinha’s petition in the Supreme Court, against his transfer by interim chief M Nageswara Rao, made serious allegations against the CVC. He wrote that Sathish Babu Sana, accused in the Moin Qureshi case who blew the whistle on Asthana, disclosed that he had met CVC KV Chowdary along with one Gorantla Ramesh (a close relative of Chowdary and owner of Delhi Public School Hyderabad) in Delhi and that they discussed Moin Qureshi’s case. Read the full report here.
3. CVC closed corruption cases allegedly involving top officials at AIIMS
Whistleblower IFS officer and Ramon Magsaysay award winner Sanjiv Chaturvedi claimed in a petition written to the President that the CVC closed corruption cases related to infrastructural work of Rs 7,000 crore. He attached 1,000 pages of documents, obtained through RTIs, in support of this claim. Read the full report here.
4. When he was the DGIT, Chaudhary had allegedly met then CBI chief Ranjit Sinha to discuss Moin Qureshi hawala case
When senior advocate Prashant Bhushan had filed an application challenging Chowdary’s appointment as the CVC, one of the grounds cited by him was Chowdary’s (who was the Director-General Income Tax at the time) meetings with the then CBI chief Ranjit Sinha at his official residence. It was alleged that Sinha had met Chowdary when he (Chowdary) was probing the dealings of hawala dealer Moin Qureshi who was known to Sinha and who had met him approximately 90 times at his residence. Read the full report here.
5. As DGIT, he was alleged to have been involved in misappropriation of funds and bribery while investigating ‘Stock Guru’ scam
In the ‘Stock Guru’ ponzi scam, Chowdary and two officers reporting to him were being investigated by the CBI under Rakesh Sinha. The CBI had found that the officers under Chowdary had taken bribes and also misappropriated about Rs 40 crore.
6. He allegedly cleared his name from the Stock Guru Scam via a ‘quid pro quo’ arrangement with then CBI Director
Sinha himself was being probed for scuttling the probe and meeting with the accused in the coal scam. It was alleged that Sinha and Chowdary had a quid-pro-quo arrangement — the Income Tax Department in its report on Moin Qureshi case, gave a clean chit to Sinha and the CBI gave a clean chit to Chowdary in the Stock Guru Scam. Read the full report here.
7. He allegedly removed Narendra Modi’s name from Sahara-Birla diaries
It is also alleged that Chowdary was involved in burying evidence in the Sahara-Birla diaries case. Reports had alleged that the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat at the time, had cropped-up in the diaries. Read the full report here.
8. He allegedly influenced the investigation and dropped the case against infamous businessman Ponty Chaddha
Prashant Bhushan has alleged that during his tenure at the Central Bureau of Direct Taxation (CBDT), Chowdary asked the assessing officer to drop the case against infamous business Ponty Chaddha who was shot dead on November 17, 2012. Bhushan said it was alleged that the CBDT wanted to make a demand of over Rs 200 crore from Chaddha, however, upon Chowdary’s intervention, Chaddha’s income was under-assessed. Read the full report here.--NC