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Supreme Court today rejects as invalid the orders issued by Central Viginailance Commission and Department of Personnel and Training which divested Alok Verma of the charges of CBI Director.
The Supreme Court ordered the reinstatement of Alok Verma and Directed the High Power Committee under Section 4(1) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act to take his case within a week. Alok Verma till then cannot take any major policy decision regarding CBI. The Committee composing of the Prime Minister, CJI and leader of the opposition.
The Judgement was given by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, later read out by Justice Kaul in his absence, held that the word “Transfer” has to be understood as encompassing all acts which affect the independent functioning of CBI Director. The Judgment overruled the contention of the Attorney General that the action against Alok Verma cannot be regarded as “removal” or “transfer”, as he was simply taken off charge.
The Court said that the Supreme Court directions in Vineet Narain case had intended to insulate the CBI Director completely form political pressure.
The directions of Vineet Narain case were incorporated into the statue. The DSPE Act did not enable the Government to take any interim measure against the CBI Director without the prior consent of the statutory committee.
With the Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and KM Joseph had reserved orders on 6th December 2018.
On the 23rd Day of October that the midnight orders divesting Verma of the Charge of CBI Director were issued by the Central Government. The Action was challenged the very next day.
F S Nariman, senior counsel appearing for Verma, argued that the CBI Director cannot be removed without prior sanction of the High Powered Committee under Section 4(1) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment
Attorney General K K Venugopal defended the Centre’s decision by stating that Alok Verma has neither been transferred nor been removed from the post of CBI Director. But he continues to be CBI Director without the charge of the post. The Action was taken in the view of corruption allegations against him said the Attorney General. Rakesh Asthana, on the other hand, is named in an FIR relating to bribery allegations, challenging which he has approached the High Court, Delhi. The issue has its genesis in the tussle which brewed up in CBI following the rift between Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana (Special Director).
25th October 2018, the Supreme Court directed the CVC to complete the enquiry against Alok Verma within two weeks under the provision if retired Judge Supreme Court Justice A K Patnaik. The Court also understated the interim Director Nageshwara Rao from taking any major policy decisions regarding CBI, except carrying out day to day functions.
On November 16 the CVC submitted its enquiry report in a sealed cover. The Supreme Court observed that the CVC report is “mixed” against Alok Verma.
During the Hearings, the Court asked what prompted the hurried midnight action against Alok Verma on 23rd October 2018, when the complaint against him was pending since August 2018.
On 20th January 2018 Alok Verma was appointed as CBI Director and, is retiring on 19th January.
A PIL has been filed by the NGO Common Cause against Alok Verma’s removal. The PIL also sought SIT probe into the corruption allegations against CBI officials. It alleged that Alok Verma was handling the investigation of “sensitive” cases and that he was “being victimized for taking action against Mr. Rakesh Asthana, a Gujarat cadre officer and also for entertaining complaint against the top functionaries of the present government “.
The PIL was also heard along with Alok Verma’s petition and orders were reserved on it as well.Tagged: Supreme Court Alok Verma CBI Directors Central Viginailance Commission Department of Personnel and Training CJI Ranjan Gogoi Vineet Narain Justice S K Kaul Justice KM Joseph Justice A K Patnaik