CBI embroiled in internal battle

The India’s top investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is caught up in an embarrassing internal conflict. The bitter feud between CBI chief Alok Verma and his number 2 special director Rakesh Asthana has escalated with the agency filing a bribery case against the latter. In retaliation, Mr Asthana has written to the union government, saying a “false FIR (First Information Report)” has been lodged against him. Mr Asthana is alleged of receiving bribe in the Moin Qureshi money laundering case.
On his part special director Rakesh Asthana has alleged corrupt practices by CBI chief and his Chief Vigilance Officer Arun Sharma. In a communication to the cabinet secretary in August last, he had mentioned 10 instances of corruption, criminal misconduct, and interference in the investigations of the sensitive cases. This fierce internal battle has exposed the agency itself. If both director and special director are alleged of being involved in corruption, then who will trust CBI? At present it is investigating several high profile corruption cases including the politically sensitive ones. But with its own top officials being dragged into corruption allegation, the image of CBI has taken severe beating. In the past often it has been alleged of being used as a tool by the ruling government to target its opponents. But this latest allegation of corruption will badly damage the image of CBI. It will be a herculean task for CBI to regain the trust of the people of India.