New Delhi: Supreme Court judge Justice A K Sikri on Thursday recused himself from hearing a plea challenging the Centre’s decision to appoint M Nageswara Rao as interim CBI director. A bench headed by Justice Sikri listed the matter for Friday for hearing before a different bench.

As soon as the matter came up for hearing, Justice Sikri told senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for petitioner NGO Common Cause, that he would not like to hear the matter and was recusing himself.

“You understand my position. I can’t hear this matter,” Justice Sikri said, who was part of the high-powered panel which had removed CBI Director Alok Verma.

On Tuesday, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had recused himself from hearing the plea challenging Rao’s appointment as interim CBI chief. The CJI said that he is a member of the Selection Committee, that will pick a successor to Alok Verma, who was removed as CBI director months after he was sent on leave.

Meanwhile, the PM Modi-led high-powered selection committee will meet on Thursday to discuss over the appointment of new CBI chief. The panel has reportedly shortlisted around a dozen officials for the coveted post.

The petition, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, said the order of appointing Rao as interim director of CBI was “illegal, arbitrary, malafide” and in violation of the provisions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DSPE Act).

CBI’s Additional Director Rao was given the charge of interim chief on January 10 till the appointment of a new director after a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed Alok Kumar Verma as the chief of the probe agency on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty.