CVC seeks time for further probe against Verma

CVC seeks time for further probe against Verma

SC asks Verma to respond to CVC report

The Supreme Court on Friday said the Central Vigilance Commission has sought further time to probe some of the charges against CBI director Alok Verma in its report on an inquiry supervised by former top court judge, Justice A K Patnaik. PTI File photo

The Supreme Court on Friday asked CBI director Alok Verma to respond to an inquiry report by the Central Vigilance Commission after finding that he has not been cleared of all charges.

Verma was divested of his charge and probed by the CVC in an inquiry supervised by former SC judge Justice A K Patnaik on a complaint by special director Rakesh Asthana to the Cabinet Secretary. 

The court said the Central Vigilance Commission has sought further time to probe some of the charges against Verma in its report, submitted this week.

A bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the CVC report can be categorised in four categories: very complimentary on some charges", "not so complimentary on some charges, very uncomplimentary on some charges and some charges required further probe.

The court asked Verma, represented by senior advocate Fali S Nariman, to file his response to the report by Monday, 1 pm, before it takes any decision.

The bench, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph, also ordered the report be kept under "utmost confidentiality" in view of "the need to preserve and maintain the sanctity of the CBI".

"The report directed to be furnished in sealed cover must be treated with utmost confidentiality," the bench said.

The court, however, refused a plea by Attorney General to allow the Union Government to respond to the CVC's report. 

"At this stage, we are not inclined to call upon the Union government to give a response," the bench said.

The court put the petition filed by Verma, questioning the order to send him on leave, for further consideration on Tuesday. He has challenged the October 23 order by which he and special director Rakesh Asthana were divested of their charge in the CBI after an open feud between them came out in open. On a note by Cabinet Secretary on October 24, the CVC started a probe against Verma.

The court rejected a plea by Asthana to be provided a copy of the CVC report, though his counsel senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi vehemently contended that it was he on whose complaint the probe was ordered against Verma.

"If you insist, then we can ask on what authority, you filed a complaint to Cabinet Secretary," the bench asked.

During the hearing, the court also noted senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for NGO 'Common Cause' had on the last date claimed some decisions were taken by interim director M N Rao, despite the restraint order. But the counsel had failed to provide a list of such decisions. 

"So, we can presume you have nothing to say," the bench asked the counsel.

As Dave claimed there was some difficulty in giving such a list, the bench asked him to do it by next date of hearing. 

The court agreed to consider on next date a plea by senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge against the order to divest Verma of charge without a nod from a statutory committee comprising Prime Minister, CJI and Leader of Opposition that appointed the CBI director a fixed tenure of two years. Besides, the court also put for consideration an application filed by CBI officer, A K Bassi, who was investigating the FIR lodged against Asthana in a bribery case on October 15, against his transfer to Port Blair.

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