'These officers should have sat and sorted things out.'
'And if things were not working out amicably, then the other organisations which control the CBI -- be it the CVC or the prime minister's office or even the home ministry -- someone should have gone ahead and solved these problems rather than reducing it to this farcical situation.'
Neeraj Kumar, the former Delhi police commissioner, is one of the few Indian police officers to speak to Dawood Ibrahim at length after the fugitive gangster fled India.
Neeraj Kumar, who served as a joint director at the Central Bureau of Investigation, missed the top job in the CBI after a false complaint was filed against him.
Following his retirement from the Indian Police Service in 2013 he was asked to head the Board of Control for Cricket in India's anti-corruption unit.
"It is a failure at many levels. At the first level it is the failure of officers," Neeraj Kumar, below, tells Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf about the ongoing controversy in the CBI.
The Supreme Court has given the Central Vigilance Commission two weeks to probe the charges and counter-charges that have been flying thick and fast in the CBI.
The court does not want to keep this issue hanging for long. They want to do a quick job. They understand that this issue cannot be kept too long under the bench. Therefore, they have given two weeks.
As a former joint director of the CBI how do you feel about the infighting and allegations being made against each other by the director and the special director?
I feel very saddened, aggrieved and anguished by these developments. The CBI as a police organisation has been reduced to a mockery. It could have been avoided and prevented.
Do you feel the 1997 Vineet Narain judgment was not implemented in letter and spirit and the government continued to play ducks and drakes with postings, etc?
For instance, moving Rakesh Asthana from Gujarat to the CBI...
I cannot comment on whether the Centre should have or not done this or that because these gentlemen (Alok Verma and Asthana) are my friends.
So to say that Asthana was wrongly brought in and Alok Verma did not make peace with him etc won't be proper for me to comment, they are my friends. So, I will rather not comment on it.
Archana Ramasundaram, the then director general of the Tamil Nadu police, was brought into the CBI by the Manmohan Singh government, but that did not blow up to such an extent as Asthana's induction has. Why do you think this is so?
This time the controversy became big because of politics. It started after Rupak Dutta was eased out. (Rupak Kumar Dutta was in line to become the CBI director, but was eased out in December 2016 and the Modi government appointed Alok Kumar Verma).
Rupak was supposed to be the next CBI director, but did not get the posting. Then they also got (Asthana) from Gujarat, which became controversial.
All of which has led to the charge that CBI has never been independent.
No government body is independent. You name one government body that is independent to me.
Judiciary too, you and I know there is some control or interference. So to that extent the CBI is as non-independent as any other government body.
What about the Central Vigilance Commission's role in the controversy? Did they do right by sending Alok Verma and Asthana on leave?
I cannot stand over the judgment of the CVC. Now the court has given them two weeks to come out with a solution so we will come to know the answer, whether the CVC did right or wrong.
If you had been the CVC chief what would you have done if the CBI's No 1 and No 2 were fighting?
I would have prevented this fight. I would have never let this situation come.
It is a failure at many levels. At the first level it is the failure of officers.
These are mature people. They are on the verge of their retirement and they have seen a lot of the world.
They know how to deal with each other. They know how to deal with their subordinates or superiors who have a different bent of mind or have differences of opinion.
These officers should have sat together and sorted things out.
And if things were not working out amicably, then the other organisations which control the CBI -- be it the CVC or the prime minister's office or even the home ministry -- someone should have gone ahead and solved these problems rather than reducing it to this farcical situation.
Do you feel that today one cannot remain a neutral officer in CBI, you have to be either on this side or that side of power?
Yes, therefore I said I am anguished and saddened by these developments.
Will this controversy erode the people's faith in the CBI? Can the Bureau regain its credibility?
People will regain their faith in the CBI once good people come again and they start doing good work, but this will take some time.