Fresh plea in SC questioning decision to send Verma on leave
New Delhi, Oct 25: A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court of India challenging the decision of the government to send, CBI Director, Alok Verma on leave.
Advocate, Prashant Bhushan in his petition sought for the quashing of the CVC's orders on the basis of which the government divested Verma of his duties and functions in The CBI.
Bhushan also urged the court to tag his petition with the one filed by Verma. He also sought the removal of Rakesh Asthana from the CBI and sought for the setting up of an SIT probe to look into the allegations of corruption against him.
He also contended that the Lokpal Act of 2014 amended Section 4A (1) of the CVC Act of 2003 substituted CVC Committee with high-powered PM, LoP, CJI panel to recommend appointment of CBI Director. The PM panel now has to consent to removal of CBI chief before his statutory 2 year term, Bhushan also said.
The petition was filed just a day after Verma moved the Supreme Court challenging the decision to send him on leave. The court will hear this petition on October 26.
Appearing for Verma, advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan said that the government had asked his client and special director Rakesh Asthana to go on leave. This would compromise the probe into several sensitive cases, he also said.
He also said that the investigating officers of sensitive cases are being changed. Verma further said that there is a need for an independent CBI. Present circumstances occurred when certain investigation into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the government. He said that he can furnish details of many cases which have led to the present circumstances. They are extremely sensitive in nature.
The CVC took an overnight decision to divest me completely of the CBI director's role. This is contrary to Section 4 B of the DSPE Act, which grants a secure term of 2 years to the CBI chief in order to ensure independence. The section also mandates the appointment of a CBI Director by a high powered panel of the PM, LoP and CJI. Further the committee's consent is also needed to transfer the CBI Director. This latest action bypass the mandate of the committee, he also said.
At 6 am today, both Verma and Asthana was asked to go on leave and this will jeopardise the probe into several cases. The Bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi will hear the matter on Friday.
Following the ugly public spat, the government decided to send both Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana on leave. Following this M Nageshwar Rao was appointed as the interim director with immediate effect. Verma would now move the Supreme Court against this order of the government.
In a late night order the government appointed Rao as the interim chief of the CBI. The order stated, " The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved that during the period of the subsistence of the aforesaid interim measure, cited in reference above, Shri M Nageshwar Rao, IPS, presently working as Joint Director, CBI shall look after duties and functions of Director CBI and shall take over duties and functions with immediate effect."
The Delhi High Court had on Tuesday directed the CBI to maintain status quo on the criminal proceedings that were initiated against Asthana. A trial court had sent a CBI SP, Devender Singh to seven days police remand in connection with the alleged bribery case in which the CBI made Asthana an accused. The HC will hear the matter next on October 29.