CBI Crisis: Supreme Court Gives Central Vigilance Commission Two Weeks To Complete Probe
The Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition by Central Bureau of Investigation’s Director Alok Verma, challenging the central government’s decision to send him on leave. The apex court also directed the Central Vigilance Commission to complete an enquiry into the allegations and counter-allegations raised by Verma and his deputy Special Director Rakesh Asthana within two weeks.
Retired Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik will supervise the CVC’s probe, ruled a three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The court also barred the newly appointed interim CBI Chief Nageswara Rao from taking any policy decisions, Bloomberg News reported. All decisions taken by the interim director should be submitted to the court by Nov. 1.
The Supreme Court will hear the case next on Nov. 12.
In a first for the 55-year old investigative agency, its Director Verma and Special Director Asthana were stripped of their powers and sent on leave, following allegations of corruption. Joint Director M Nageswar Rao, a 1986-batch Odisha cadre IPS officer, was appointed to look after the “duties and functions” of the director with “immediate effect” as an “interim measure.”
During the brief hearing today, senior advocate FS Nariman advanced arguments on behalf of the CBI chief. He submitted that the CBI director was appointed with the approval of a selection panel, comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India.
Nariman referred to the CVC and central government’s orders divesting Verma of his duty. He cited the Vineet Narain judgment to support Verma’s pleas.
The apex court said the CVC enquiry on allegations and counter-allegations should be completed in 10 days under the supervision of this court. The CVC, however, submitted that 10 days were not sufficient as it has to look into several documents.
(With inputs from PTI)