(Image: Supreme Court of India website)

CBI Vs CBI: Supreme Court Reinstates Alok Verma As CBI Director

The Supreme Court reinstated CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma, setting aside the Centre's decision to divest him of his powers, but restrained him from taking any major policy decision till the CVC probe into corruption charges against him is over.

The apex court said any further decision against Verma, who was sent on leave following the Centre's Oct. 23 decision and retires on Jan. 31, would be taken by the high-powered committee which selects and appoints the CBI director.

The selection committee comprises the prime minister, the leader of opposition and the chief justice of India. The top court said the high-powered committee will take its decision on the basis of the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission inquiry. It said the meeting of the committee should be convened within a week.

The judgement was penned by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. However, the CJI didn't attend court and it was pronounced by Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.

The apex court also set aside the Centre's decision to appoint senior IPS officer M Nageswara Rao, who was joint director, as the agency's interim chief.

The apex court has set aside the Centre's Oct. 23 decision divesting Verma as CBI chief and sending him on leave.

Verma sought quashing of three orders of Oct. 23, 2018 -- one by the CVC and two by the Department of Personnel and Training -- as being without jurisdiction and in violation of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

Rao, a 1986 batch Odisha-cadre IPS officer, was given the charge of interim chief of the probe agency.

The Centre took the decision to send Verma and CBI's Special Director Rakesh Asthana on leave after their feud become public. The top two charged each other of corruption.

Verma's counsel and senior advocate Fali S Nariman argued that the CBI director was appointed on Feb. 1, 2017 and "the position of law is that there will be a fixed tenure of two years and this gentleman cannot be even transferred".

Nariman said there was no basis for the CVC to pass an order recommending that Verma be sent on leave.

Also read: Is Government Right To Send CBI Director Alok Verma On Leave? Sanjay Hegde, Vineet Narain, MN Singh Debate