Alok Verma expelled as director of the CBI, posted as DG Fire Services

NEW DELHI: The government, while sacking CBI director Alok Verma, ensured that the two-year term he was entitled to as CBI chief was ‘protected’ by posting him as DG, Fire Services, Civil Defence & Home Guards, forremainder of this term.

Verma will hold the new post “for the residual period of his present term ending 31.01.2019”, states the ACC order issued on Thursday evening.

Verma, who was Delhi Police commissioner before he was selected to head CBI, would have retired in the ordinary course in July 2017. However, given the fixed two-year tenure that comes with the post of CBI chief, he got an extended tenure until January 31, 2019, when he would complete two years as CBI chief.

While the extended tenure would have become infructuous in view of his removal from CBI Director’s post, the government decided to let him complete remainder of his term albeit in what many consider as a rather ‘obscure’ posting.

According to a former Home Secretary, “the rules relating to transfers and postings are rather flexible ... There is always the option of ‘protecting’ the fixed tenure given to an officer holding a post carrying a fixed term, even if the tenure gets curtailed due to his premature removal.”

This, the ex-bureaucrat said, can be done by accommodating the sacked officer in another post, possibly in the same salary bracket, for the residual part of the fixed term that came with the original post.

An earlier instance is that of Kamal Pande, who was Cabinet secretary when UPA government took over from NDA regime in 2004. The Manmohan Singh government removed him from Cabinet secretary’s post some four-and-a-half month’s short of his fixed two-year tenure. However, even though he was past his original superannuation date, he was transferred to Inter-State Council as secretary for the remainder of his term.

While premature removal from posts carrying fixed tenures is not unheard of, the CBI chief’s post is unique as it is as per direction of the Supreme Court in the Vineet Narain case.

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