4 men found outside CBI chief’s home belong to IB, were on ‘routine covert’ duties: MHA

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New Delhi: Four men belonging to the Intelligence Bureau were caught outside the official residence of CBI director Alok Verma, who has been divested of his powers and sent on leave, officials said Thursday.

While Home Ministry officials said the four men were on “routine, covert” duties in the high security area outside Verma’s 2 Janpath residence, sources said they were taken away by police and questioned.

The IB is entrusted with the responsibility of collecting intelligence on situations that may affect public order and internal security. Among other things, its units are “routinely” deployed in “sensitive areas”, a Home Ministry official said.

At times, this is done in association with local law enforcement agencies, and at other times, a surprise element is built in, he added.

This also enables law enforcement agencies to respond immediately to developing situations. The officials carry their identity cards since they are on “routine duties”, he explained.

“This is unlike surveillance, which is done without any visible appurtenances. One unit, in the early hours of today, halted at Janpath where there was an unusual collection of people,” the official said.

This was with a view to check why people had collected at the location.

“This is a high security zone where several protectees reside. Unfortunately, their presence was projected otherwise,” another official said.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh and NCP chief Sharad Pawar live near the CBI director’s official residence.

Though police sources said the men were being interrogated, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Madhur Verma denied that police had detained and questioned them.

In an unprecedented shake-up in the CBI’s 55-year-history, both Verma and his deputy, Special Director Rakesh Asthana, were divested of their powers and sent on leave in a dramatic overnight action by the government Tuesday night.

Verma knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court Wednesday, challenging the government’s decision. The apex court agreed to hear his plea on Friday.