The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the country’s top probe agency, has written to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), saying that Rakesh Asthana, Special Director, “doesn’t have the mandate” to represent agency chief, Director Alok Verma.

The CBI has also communicated that a number of other officers, who were being considered for inclusion in the agency, “were under examination by the CBI as suspects/accused in criminal cases under investigation with the Bureau,” The Indian Express reported.

Underlining that the Special Director, Asthana, was himself “under (the) scanner”, the agency said that he cannot be consulted for inducting officers into the CBI to maintain the “integrity” of the organisation.

The English daily said that it tried to contact the CBI spokesperson as well as the CVC, the CBI director, and the Special Director, but they didn’t respond to its text messages.

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The CBI’s letter to the CVC comes months before the crucial 2019 elections and at a time when the agency is already investigating cases against politicians.

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The CBI’s policy division, with the “approval of the Director”, in two letters told the CVC that it had not received any agenda for the “Selection Committee meetings”, adding that the agency has previously conveyed that the meetings shouldn’t be conducted at such short notice.

The agency said that it “had already expressed its concern on May 18th, 2018 vide letter… wherein it was requested that CBI be given sufficient time in advance to conduct due diligence checks on the officers/candidates being proposed for induction”, reported the English daily.