File photo of Alok Verma | Ravi Choudhary/PTI
File photo of Alok Verma | Ravi Choudhary/PTI
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The Supreme Court, hearing CBI director Alok Verma’s petition against his removal, said the CVC probe will be monitored by ex-SC judge A.K. Patnaik.  

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday ordered the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to complete its investigation into bribery and misconduct allegations against CBI director Alok Verma in two weeks. Former Supreme Court judge A.K. Patnaik will supervise the probe, the court said.

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi was hearing a plea filed by Verma Wednesday against the government order to divest him of his charge as CBI director.

The court also said joint director M. Nageshwar Rao, made acting director by the Narendra Modi government as an “interim measure” for the duration of the CVC probe, will not take any policy decisions, and limit his role to administrative tasks.

When solicitor general Tushar Mehta, representing the CVC, sought more time for the investigation in view of the Diwali break, CJI Gogoi rejected the argument, saying there was no Diwali break for the CBI and the CVC.

The bench said a list of all the decisions taken so far by Rao as acting director, including the transfer of investigations and officers, should be furnished in court in a sealed cover on 12 November, adding that the court will pass “appropriate orders” after that.

The court added that judicial supervision for a CVC inquiry was a one-time exception.

The Narendra Modi government had stripped Verma and Asthana of their charge Wednesday amid an intensifying faceoff between the top two officials of India’s premier investigative agency.


Also read: The 9 cases CBI chief Alok Verma scuttled for bribes — Rakesh Asthana’s allegations


Justifying the move, the government had said it was an interim arrangement till the CVC, a supervisory agency for the CBI, completed its probe into the bribery and misconduct allegations Verma and Asthana have lobbed at each other.

The tussle between the two hit headlines Tuesday as the CBI booked Asthana for allegedly extorting money from suspects under investigation by the agency, in collusion with meat exporter Moin Qureshi. A suspected aide, CBI deputy superintendent of police Devender Kumar, was arrested for allegedly tampering with a complaint against Asthana to frame Verma.

The complaint was filed by a Hyderabad-based businessman named Sathish Sana, who said Asthana had sought a bribe from him in exchange for relief in a CBI probe.

‘Loss of credibility and reputation’

Asthana and Kumar immediately moved the Delhi High Court, saying the CBI FIR was an attempt by Verma to “hide his own misconduct”. They added that Sana’s complaint followed their investigation against him, and that it was Verma who was actually accepting bribes to influence cases.


Also read: All you wanted to know about the war in CBI between Rakesh Asthana and Alok Verma


The Centre then divested Asthana and Verma of their charge, saying “the grave allegations of corruption by senior functionaries of CBI one against another, which has been widely reported in media, has vitiated the official eco-system of the organisation”.

“The environment of faction feud has reached its peak in the CBI leading to a potential loss of credibility and reputation of the premier investigating agency of the government,” it added.

It then appointed CBI joint director M. Nageshwar Rao as interim director, saying the decision would hold “till the CVC concludes its inquiry into all issues which have given rise to the present extra-ordinary and unprecedented situation and till the CVC and/or government of India takes an appropriate decision in accordance with the law as regards to the measures to be adopted as a consequence thereof”.


Also read: Takes courage to withstand political influence: Ousted CBI chief Alok Verma in SC


The CBI, in a statement issued Thursday evening, reiterated the Centre’s stand, adding that Verma and Asthana were still, officially, the director and the special director, respectively.

An earlier version of the report said the court had set a 10-day deadline for the CVC probe. However, the court had set a two-week deadline for the investigation to be completed. The error is regretted.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The SC order is fair and balanced. I wonder what Rahul Gandhi and his party is now protesting against. Are they criticising the Apex Court verdict? I heard Rahul Gandhi’s comments on the TV. He is ranting the same old story of how Modi has allowed Anil Ambani to pocket Rs.30,000 crore and how this is linking to sending The CBI director on leave. This is all very funny and ridiculous. The SC has not linked the two issues. The CBI director has been accorded an opportunity to prove his innocence by facing the CVC enquiry committee headed by a retired SC Judge. But one fails to understand how the Congress can presume innocence of the CBI director and continue criticising the government’s move. Furthermore the allegation of Anil Ambani pocketing Rs.30000 crore is just wild imagination. Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier that business with Anil’s Company is just 850 crores and NOT Rs.30000 crore, i.e. less than 3 percent of the total offset amount. The major share of the offset will go to DRDO for Kaveri project – a project for designing Tejas airplane engines. Let us also not forget that in any manufacturing activity profit cannot be equal to total sales turnover. This is simple accounting. Moreover, let us not forget that Dassault itself has 49% share in the JV. Thus the entire benefit cannot be pocketed by Anil Ambani. Rahul Gandhi is not just puerile and immature, he now seems to be hallucinating. Modi may have made many errors. But Rafale is certainly not one of them.

  2. Good. This was the best possible alternative. The rot in the CBI is deep and these two are only the tips. And I doubt Modi or any other politician can solve it. In fact, both BJP and Congress are a part of the problem. Although, I wonder what can a 10-day inquiry find that they don’t know already?

    Said that I wonder when will media grow up in India. This whole week, I was fed up reading nonsensical articles, reeking of concoctions and made up stories. Stories like “N important files” on Verma’s desk, or that he was independently investigating the government were not only alarmist but also stupid. So much American fiction — all dished on front pages. There are very few authors I like who deliver facts, without taking sides. Others seem like they have already picked their news stories and are waiting for filler events to publish them.

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