CBI war: SC allows CVC probe against chief Verma

CBI war: SC allows CVC probe against chief Verma

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Central Vigilance Commission to complete its probe against CBI director Alok Verma within two weeks. The top court also appointed former SC judge A K Patnaik to supervise the CVC probe.

The bitter bickering within the CBI come out in the open this week with Verma ordering the registration of an FIR against Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who, in turn, lodged a complaint against him. The CVC and the Union Government finally acted on October 23, divesting both the top officers of their charges in the CBI.

Hearing a plea filed by Verma against the order, a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph did not take much time to pass its order.

The court noted that the enquiry is in respect of the allegations made in the note/letter of the Cabinet Secretary on August 24, 2018, as regards the present director, CBI, Alok Verma.


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The CVC probe would now be under the supervision of Justice Patnaik, adding to the fairness of the exercise. But the court clarified that its order on appointment of Justice Patnaik is a one-time exception and should be taken as a reflection upon the functioning of any authority of the Union government.

Besides, the court also directed senior IPS officer and joint director M N Rao, appointed as the CBI chief for an interim, not to take any policy decision. 

The court also directed that all orders passed by Rao from the time of his appointment on October 23 till the passing of its orders (on Friday), including on change of investigating officers and transfer of investigation, would be kept in sealed cover and presented before it on the next date of hearing, November 12.

The court issued a notice to the Centre and others and agreed to examine the petition filed by Verma.

"We want to examine the matter. We don't want this to go on," the bench said.

Senior advocate F S Nariman, representing Verma, while challenging the orders passed by the CVC and DoPT on October 23, said he cannot be divested of charge as CBI chief as his appointment is for two years. He also pointed out that Verma's appointment has been made by a high powered committee comprising the PM, leader of the opposition and the CJI. But the orders were passed without permission from the committee.

As Nariman sought to highlight the grave dangers to democracy by such incidents, the CJI said, "We have a lot of things to talk. But at the moment, this is just a case for us."

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi also sought to put forth arguments on behalf of Rakesh Asthana but the court refused. He said Asthana had also filed a separate petition, besides he has been named as a respondent in the matter.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave appeared for NGO 'Common Cause' challenging the orders issued on October 23 and sought the removal of Asthana.

The CVC was represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and the Union government by Attorney General K K Venugopal.