New Delhi: The Supreme Court’s (SC) bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Friday will hear pleas filed by Alok Verma and an NGO against the government’s order of sending him on leave and relieving him of charge as CBI Director. Verma is likely to produce details of “extremely sensitive” cases to the apex court tomorrow.
On Thursday, CBI official spokesperson said that Verma will continue to remain CBI Director while Rakesh Asthana will remain the Special Director. He further added that M Nageshwar Rao will look after duties and functions of the CBI Director in the interim period till the time CVC looked into the allegations.
Verma had filed a petition in the apex court on Wednesday saying that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) autonomy was being compromised as it was against the law mandate to remove a CBI Director before the completion of his tenure.
Calling the government’s action “patently illegal“, he added that certain investigations into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the government. He urged the court to refrain the Centre from interfering saying that ‘not all influence that is exerted by the political government would be found explicitly or in writing. More often than not it is tacit and requires considerable courage to withstand.”
Verma had moved the court hours after the government sent him on leave from his position as the CBI director and named M Nageshwar Rao the interim director. Action against both Verma and Asthana cropped and turned into an ugly battle after the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), on receipt of a complaint on August 24, 2018, containing various allegations against the senior functionaries of the CBI served three separate notices (under section 11 of CVC Act, 2003) on September 11, 2018 upon the Director, CBI to produce files and documents before the Commission on September 14, 2018.
Reacting to the ousting of Verma as the top investigative agency’s director earlier, Congress President Rahul Gandhi Thursday said that removal of CBI Director Alok Verma took place as country’s ‘chowkidaar’ was scared that truth will come out. Upping the ante against PM Modi, Gandhi said that the PM knew that CBI chief was to begin an inquiry into Rafale fighter jets deal and this had him frightened. To cover it up, a panic-stricken PMO forced the CBI Director to go on leave at 2 AM. Calling the move as ‘illegal and criminal’, Gandhi said that the sudden move was taken to bury the corruption track.