CBI vs CBI: SC orders CVC inquiry into allegations against Alok Verma

by Garry Watts October 28, 2018, 1:26
CBI vs CBI: SC orders CVC inquiry into allegations against Alok Verma

After hearing several petitions, Supreme Court gave a sensational order and instructed temporary CBI director Mannem Nageswara Rao not to make any decisions till further orders.

In a dramatic midnight action, the government on Tuesday night divested CBI chief Verma of his charge and made Joint Director M. Nageshwar Rao the interim director. Decisions taken by him since October 23 till date should not be implemented, it said.

In the beginning, the apex court said the CVC inquiry on allegations and counter-allegations should be completed in 10 days under the supervision of this court.

It said, the retired judge will supervise the CVC inquiry against Verma because of the importance of the case without casting aspersions on any constitutional or statutory authority.

After staging a huge protest outside the CBI headquarters against the move to divest CBI Director Alok Verma of his powers, Congress president Rahul Gandhi courted arrest along with other party leaders on Friday.

Addressing the gathering of Congress protesters earlier in the day, Gandhi accused Modi of destroying institutions such as the CBI, the Election Commission and the Enforcement Directorate.

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Bhushan also urged the court to tag his petition with the one filed by Verma.

"The question is whether the tenure could be breached at any time?", he told the bench and said that consent of the committee was needed for transferring the CBI director.

Senior Advocate Fali Nariman is appearing for Alok Verma, while Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave will represent Common Cause. He submitted that the sidelined CBI director was appointed with the approval of a selection panel having the prime minister, the leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India.

He said that recent developments "have eroded the credibility of the Central Bureau of Investigation" and that the "CVC, in the interest of fairness, had passed an order that till investigation or inquiry is pending against the two top officers of the CBI, they must step aside and recuse themselves from the CBI's function".

Accusing the government of interfering into investigations, Verma has said there was a need for an independent probe agency as there were bound to be occasions when certain investigations into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the government.

On the whole, while both sides may have bones to pick with the order, the Centre is likely to be more aggrieved, since Verma's chief grievance - the orders of the CVC and Centre - could still be easily addressed subsequently by the court.

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