Mannem Nageshwar Rao was appointed as the Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) with immediate effect on Wednesday after former director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana were sent on leave amid an ongoing spat between the top officials.

The decision to this effect was taken by the prime minister-led appointments committee on Tuesday night.

According to an order by the Department of Personnel and Training, Rao will “look after the duties and functions of Director CBI and shall take over the duties and functions with immediate effect.”

Nageshwar Rao, a 1986 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Odisha cadre, has been serving as Joint Director in the investigating agency since he joined the CBI in 2016.

A chemistry post-graduate from Osmania University, M Nageshwara Rao did research in Madras IIT before joining the IPS. Rao is believed to be a tough cop and decorated administrator.

The decision to appoint Rao came a day after Special Director Rakesh Asthana moved the Delhi High Court seeking the quashing of FIR filed against him by the CBI in connection with an alleged bribery case.

The court issued a stay on any action by the CBI against Asthana till 29 October.

The CBI had filed an FIR against Asthana for allegedly accepting a bribe from a businessman, who was related to Moin Akhtar Qureshi case.

On Monday, the CBI arrested Asthana’s aide, Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, in connection with the case. Kumar was arrested on charges of falsifying records and has been accused of forging statement against CBI chief Alok Verma.