"Our Men On Routine Patrol": IB On Four Personnel Caught "Snooping" Outside CBI Director's Residence
Four people were caught at around 6 am on October 25 for allegedly snooping outside the exiled CBI Director Alok Verma’s residence. The men reportedly came in teams of two, one in a Celerio car, other in an Alto. The documents like identity proofs and CGHS and Aadhaar cards obtained from these four suggested that they were Intelligence Bureau (IB) personnel. After this information reached the IB, officials were sent to get these men back.
Four men held for snooping
As reported by Hindustan Times, the four people dressed in plain clothes were found suspiciously loitering around Verma’s residence in Janpath. They were soon confronted by Verma’s security personnel. It was then speculated that they were trying to either plant a listening device or were observing the visitors to the residence.
— ANI (@ANI) October 25, 2018
On observing these men, Personal Security Officers (PSO) held them, roughed them up and dragged them inside Verma’s residence in the media glare. One of the four men was reportedly left injured as the PSOs dragged him.
After being questioned by the PSOs, the men were soon handed over to the police control room. The Deputy Commissioner of police under whose jurisdiction Janpath falls had then said that he had no knowledge about these men and the matter would be looked after by the security department.
“Our men on routine patrol”
In a statement issued by the Intelligence Bureau, they said that the men were, in fact, from IB. The statement further added that such patrolling was a routine in sensitive areas, “The IB is entrusted with the responsibility on situations that may affect, inter alia, public order and internal security. Its units are routinely deployed on a regular basis in sensitive areas.”
Saying that similar action was being carried out in the “high-security zone” after an unusual collection of people were observed. However, the presence of the IB personnel was projected otherwise, said the statement.
The whole incident has been deemed inappropriate and in violation of set rules. As reported by The Times of India, according to protocol, if suspicious vehicle or person is found in the vicinity of the protectee, the Personal Security Officers are required to inform the police immediately. Although procedure demands that the suspects are not taken inside protectee’s residence, however, the rule was broken in this case. Further, IB operatives work on varied confidential operations and in this case, the details of the four personnel were made available to media, thereby compromising the operations they might be associated with.
Ouster of CBI director
After CBI director Alok Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana were summoned by the PMO on Monday evening, the two were sent on “compulsory wait” in a dramatic midnight move by the Modi government on October 23.
This decision of sending the two officials on leave came with Joint Director of CBI, M Nageshwar Rao being given the temporary charge. The decision came after the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) passed an order seeking their removal. Both have been stripped of all their responsibilities for now.
Many have raised doubts on the way Verma has been sent on a forced leave. Eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan has called it illegal. Verma moved the Supreme Court challenging this decision, hearing of which will be held on October 26.