In a massive development following the internal war within the CBI top brass spilling out in the open, the Appointment’s committee of the cabinet has sent the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Alok Verma on leave.

The prime minister-led Appointments Committee in an order on Tuesday night divested both the CBI bosses locked in feud director Alok Verma and Special director Rakesh Ashthana of all charges giving interim charge of the federal agency M Nageshwar Rao, a senior Joint Director in the agency.

“Rao shall look after the duties and functions of Director CBI and shall take over the duties and functions with immediate effect’’, read the government order.

The decision assumes immense significance as it implies that the government has not handed over the reins of Verma to his deputy, Additional Director A K Sharma and has sidelined all the three additional directors including A K Sharma whose name also figured in the complaint by Asthana.

According to some reports, the CBI Headquarters in New Delhi has been sealed and neither officials nor outsiders are being allowed inside as a team of officers are already inside the building.

The bitter bickering between Verma and Asthana came out in open after the CBI lodged an FIR against the latter on a complaint by Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana, a witness in the case of meat exporter Moin Qureshi who is facing a number of cases of money laundering and corruption.

Notably, a special investigation team (SIT) headed by Asthana was investigating the Qureshi case. Sana has claimed that he paid Rs 3 crore to Asthana through a Dubai-based middleman Manoj Prasad and his brother, Somesh Prasad, to save him in the case.