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CBI vs CBI: Jaitley justifies govt action, says it was needed for 'impartial investigation'

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New Delhi, Jan 8: While the Supreme Court decision to reinstated Alok Verma as the CBI director is being dubbed as a setback to the BJP-led government, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the Centre's action in October last year were in 'accordance with recommendations of CVC'.

File photo of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

He said that Centre's decision to send Verma and his deputy, Rakesh Asthana, on leave on October 23, 2018, was taken to ensure 'fair and impartial investigation' into the bitter feud between the two. Verma and Asthana had levelled corruption charges against each other.

How Alok Verma won the CBI vs CBI war

"The Supreme Court apparently has strengthened the immunity given to CBI director in larger interest of fair and impartial investigation. Therefore in accordance with direction of the Supreme Court, orders will be complied with and the government will act in the same manner," Jaitley said.

"This action (to send both on leave) was taken perfectly bonafide as there were cross-allegations made by both the officers, and in accordance with recommendations of CVC. The government had felt that in the larger interest of fair and impartial investigation and credibility of CBI, the two officers must recuse themselves," he added.

Jaitley said the Union government does not favour a person, all it wants is the transparency of CBI.

The Supreme Court today reinstated Alok Verma as the CBI chief. The court held that the midnight decision in October last year to send Verma on leave following a spat with special director, Rakesh Asthana was wrong in law.

The court said that the matter ought to have been referred to the Selection Committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice of India before any decision was taken.

CBI: After authoring verdict can CJI be part of selection committee

The order comes as a major reprieve for Verma, who fought a long hard battle in the Supreme Court. The court held that the case was a pure question of law. It further said that Delhi Special Police Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act was amended to ensure complete insulation of the office of the CBI director from external pressures.

While ordering the reinstatement of Verma, the court held that he cannot take major policy decisions till the decision of the selection committee. The High Power Committee under the DSPE will act within a week to consider his case.

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