Don't mess with court orders, SC tells top cop

Former interim CBI Director M Nageswara Rao.

The Supreme Court on Thursday summoned senior IPS officer and CBI additional director M Nageshwara Rao for contempt of court after finding that he, as in-charge director, transferred an officer supervising the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, despite an embargo by the top court.

"We are going to take it very seriously. Never play around with the orders of the court. God help you. We are going to initiate contempt proceedings," a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

The court noted that IPS officer A K Sharma, who as joint director, was supervising the shelter home case but he was transferred on January 18 as additional director general CRPF though it had earlier specifically said that the officer should not be shifted without its permission.

Along with Rao, the court also sought the personal presence of CBI's in-charge director of prosecution on February 12. The court sought their written response by February 11.

The court said it had on October 31, 2018 and November 28, 2018, directed that Sharma should not be transferred from the post without its approval.

The court also pulled up a superintendent of police for filing an affidavit in the matter after taking oral instructions from Rao.

"We do not think an SP is competent to swear an affidavit. Law is only master that you serve, not any bureaucrat," the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, said.

The court wondered if the Appointment Committee of Cabinet was informed that there was an embargo on the transfer of Sharma.

Rao was appointed as in-charge director of CBI after then director Alok Verma and additional director Rakesh Asthana, who openly fought among themselves, were divested of their charge by the government.

Subsequently, the top court reinstated Verma and quashed the order appointing Rao as in-charge director CBI.

However, the high-powered selection panel headed by the Prime Minister again removed Verma and nominated Rao as in-charge CBI chief, who acted in the same capacity till R K Shukla took over as the regular director.

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