Who is M Nageshwar Rao, the interim CBI Director?

News18 creative by Mir Suhail

The charges against Asthana came to light after Dubai-based middleman Manoj Kumar gave a confessional statement before a magistrate stating that he paid Rs 2 crore to Asthana on behalf of Moin Qureshi, who is being probed by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of money laundering. "The CBI was going to start an inquiry and therefore the prime minister got scared and removed the CBI chief at 1 am in the night", he alleged.

The top two officers of the CBI, present Director, CBI, Alok Verma and Special Director, CBI, Rakesh Asthana, have been sent on "compulsory leave" as the spat between the them reached the Delhi High Court on Monday. A corruption case, counter charges and cases in court.

The unprecedented churn in the CBI over corruption allegations follows two years of hostilities between director Verma and his deputy Asthana.

Tuesday's supplementary chargesheet against Asthana is related to the original 15 October case of criminal conspiracy and corruption filed by the CBI against him.

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi also attacked the government on the issue of snooping happening outside the house of Alok Verma and said that "Today morning, an attempt was made by this government to drag Inteligence into this mess".

The plea has also challenged the appointment of joint director M Nageshwar Rao as interim CBI chief, claiming that the appointment was "in gross violation of the law regarding selection of the CBI director". They also submitted documents buttressing their argument for the need of probe.

- The Supreme Court has stated repeatedly that the CBI ought to be insulated from the government. But was the Leader of Opposition or the CJI called?

K Vijayarama Rao, who headed the CBI in the early 90s, saw the agency through some tough investigations, including the Babri Masjid demolition, Beant Singh's assassination, the Jain Hawala case, the Purulia Arms drop case and also the Chandraswami case, to mention a few. The court had later said that no action will be taken against Asthana until the next hearing. Besides Asthana and Kumar, middlemen Prasad and Somesh Prasad have also been named as accused in the case.

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