Justice A.K. Sikri, a member of the panel that ousted Alok Verma as CBI director, had drawn a lot of flak after ThePrint reported the job offer.
New Delhi: Senior Supreme Court judge A.K. Sikri has withdrawn his consent to be nominated by the Narendra Modi government as a president/member in the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT), ThePrint has learnt.
The move came hours after ThePrint reported about the government’s decision, taken last month, to nominate him to the post, which he would have taken up after his retirement as Supreme Court judge on 6 March.
Sources told ThePrint that Justice Sikri wrote to the Union government Sunday evening to inform them of his decision to withdraw his consent, which he had given last month.
News that Sikri had accepted the government’s offer had kicked up a controversy since it was his vote that proved decisive in the ouster of CBI director Alok Verma on corruption allegations.
However, sources close to him claimed that his consent earlier had “no connection” to his role as member of the three-member high-level committee [HLC] headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and also including Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, appointed by the Supreme Court this week to decide on Verma’s future in the CBI.
Though Verma was reinstated by the Supreme Court, the committee, a day later, sacked him with a 2:1 vote, with Kharge voicing the dissent note. Kharge and PM Modi had diametrically opposite views on Verma’s future in the CBI, which made Sikri’s the deciding vote.
Denying any connection between the two events, the sources close to Sikri said he had “became the Chief Justice of India’s nominee [to the committee] only this week”.
Sources also claimed that he had not heard anything about the post “to date”.
The CSAT is the final arbiter of disputes between its 53 member-countries.
The HLC, in a decision that has attracted flak from experts, including former judges, had decided to remove Verma from his post and appoint him as Director-General, Fire Services, Delhi, for the remainder of his tenure.
However, Verma wrote to the Department of Personnel and Training on 11 January, saying that he “may be deemed as superannuated” with immediate effect.
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