(Image: Supreme Court of India website)

Supreme Court Questions Government On Delay In CBI Director’s Appointment

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the central government why it has not appointed a regular Central Bureau of Investigation director and said it was "averse" to the appointment of an interim chief for the agency for a long period.

A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Naveen Sinha said the post of CBI director was sensitive and the government should have appointed a regular director by now.

Attorney General K K Venugopal told the court that a high-powered committee headed by the prime minister will hold a meeting on Friday to select a new CBI director. He also told the court that the Centre had taken the approval of the high-powered committee before appointing Indian Police Service officer M Nageswara Rao as the interim CBI director.

Taking account of the attorney general's submissions that the committee will hold a meeting on Friday, the apex court posted the matter for hearing on Feb. 6. The bench was hearing a petition of non-governmental organisation Common Cause challenging the appointment of Rao as interim CBI Director.

A separate bench of the court also sought a response from the government on CBI’s Deputy Superintendent of Police A K Bassi’s transfer to Port Blair. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued a notice to the Centre and asked it to respond in six weeks.

On Jan. 21, Bassi had moved the apex court challenging his transfer, saying it was vitiated by mala fide and would prejudice the probe against former CBI Special director Rakesh Asthana.

He has challenged the transfer order issued on Jan. 11. It is violative of the directions issued by the top court in its judgment on the plea of the former CBI director Alok Kumar Verma, Bassi had said.