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India’s Supreme Court reinstates investigative agency head

India’s Supreme Court reinstated the ousted director of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday in a setback to the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which had removed him from the postin October.

The court reinstated Alok Verma as director, quashing the government’s removal order and setting aside the appointment of an interim chief, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Verma challenged the government’s decision to remove him from power during an agency inquiry of his deputy, Rakesh Asthana, petitioning the Supreme Court a day after his October ouster.

The agency had alleged Asthana took bribes to settle a money-laundering investigation into a Hyderabad businessman.

A special government committee ousted both Verma and Asthana in a late-night October raid that made a long-simmering internal feud between the two men public.

The court said on Tuesday that Verma couldn’t make any major policy decisions pending a review by an autonomous anti-corruption body that had recommended Verma’s and Asthana’s transfers out of the agency.

Rahul Gandhi, chief of the main opposition Indian National Congress party, had accused Modi of removing Verma to quash a probe into the purchase of 36 French Rafale aircraft for the Indian air force.

Gandhi appears bent on making the aircraft purchase an election issue ahead of national polls due early this year.

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