File photo of CBI director Alok Verma. (Source: PTI)

CBI Versus CBI: CVC Submits Preliminary Report In Sealed Cover To Supreme Court

The Central Vigilance Commission filed its preliminary probe report relating to CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma in a sealed cover in the Supreme Court.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul took the report on record and fixed the matter for next hearing on Nov. 16.

Interim CBI Director M Nageswar Rao also filed a report during the hearing on decisions taken by him since Oct. 23 to 26, when the apex court had ordered for the CBI probe.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Commission, told court that former apex court judge AK Patnaik supervised the inquiry that was completed on Nov. 10.

The Chief Justice of India observed that the Registry was open on Sunday also but no intimation was given to the Registrar regarding filing of the report. Later the Solicitor General tendered an apology and said though he wasn't explaining the circumstances there was a delay on their part in submitting the report.

The top court had appointed Justice Patnaik to supervise the ongoing inquiry of Central Vigilance Commission against Verma on Oct. 26.

The apex court had also issued notices to the Centre and the commission seeking their replies on Verma's petition challenging the government's decision to divest him of his powers as CBI chief and sending him on leave.

Verma's deputy Rakesh Asthana, special director of the investigating agency, was also sent on leave by the Centre.

The court on Oct. 26 had also set a deadline of two weeks for the commission to complete the preliminary inquiry against the CBI director. It had also barred Rao, who has been given interim charge of the CBI, from taking any major decision.

Mehta had said that the commission has been conducting an inquiry into the allegations made in the Aug. 24 note of the cabinet secretary with regard to Verma.

The court is also seized of the Public Interest Litigation filed by the NGO Common Cause, which sought a probe by special investigation team against CBI officers, including Asthana, and had issued notices to the Centre, CBI, CVC, Asthana, Verma and Rao, asking them to respond to it by Nov. 12.

Asthana has also moved the Supreme Court with a separate petition in the matter and has sought removal of Verma from the post of CBI director.

Later, on Nov. 4, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had moved the top court contending that divesting Verma of his statutory powers and functions is "completely illegal and arbitrary".

Kharge, who is also a member of the three-member selection committee which appoints the CBI director, said in an interlocutory application, "As a concerned stakeholder he brings to the attention of the court the brazen and illegal actions of the political executive in interfering with the independent functioning of the CBI director.”

Also read: AK Bassi, Who Probed Asthana, Says CBI Might Tamper With Evidence