Alok Verma receiving a bouquet from Asthana when the former took over as the CBI director in 2017. (SourceL CBI Website) 

CBI Infighting Exposed Agency To Ridicule, Centre Tells Supreme Court 

The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the fight between the Central Bureau of Investigation’s Director Alok Verma, and Special Director Rakesh Asthana exposed the premier probe agency to ridicule.

Attorney General KK Venugopal told a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the fight between the two officers impacted the image of the CBI. The government's main aim was to see that confidence of the public in this premier institution is restored, he said.

"Dispute between CBI Director and Special Director was pulling down integrity and respect of premier institution," he told the bench also comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.

“Two top officers, Alok Kumar Verma and Rakesh Asthana, were fighting against each other and went public which exposed the CBI to ridicule,” Venugopal told the bench. He said the fight between them had created an unprecedented and extraordinary situation.

The apex court, on Nov. 29, had said that it would first consider whether the government has the power to divest the CBI director of his duties under whatever circumstances or whether the selection committee headed by the Prime Minister should have been approached before moving against Verma on corruption allegations against him.

The court had taken this stand after making it clear that for now it was not going into the allegations and counter-allegations involving Verma and Asthana, both of whom have been stripped of their powers and sent on leave following a bitter feud.

Verma, who has challenged the centre’s decision, will see his two-year tenure end on Jan. 31.

Also read: Govt Had to Intervene as CBI Officers Fought Like Cats: AG to SC