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Supreme Court verdict on CBI Director’s plea against sending him on leave on Tuesday

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday will give its verdict on petitions filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Verma and NGO Common Cause challenging the Central government’s decision to send him on leave and divesting him of all responsibilities.

CBI Director Alok Verma

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi will deliver the verdict on January 8 on the petitions.

The bench had reserved the verdict on December 6 last year after hearing arguments of Verma, Union Government, Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), NGO Common Cause, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and others who were the party in the case.

During the hearing, while confronting questions over the Centre’s sudden decision to send CBI Director Verma on leave, the CVC had told the apex court that “extraordinary situations sometimes need extraordinary remedies.”

The CJI Ranjan Gogoi had raised questions over the timing of the order and asked why the government took immediate steps to divest Verma of his powers without consulting the Selection Committee.

Attorney General K K Venugopal appearing for the DoPT had told the bench that the government was well within its jurisdiction to send both officers (Verma and CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana) on leave by divesting them of their powers.

Venugopal had defended the Centre’s decision over sending Verma on leave and said that the dispute between Verma and Asthana was tarnishing the reputation of the institution. He had added that both the top officials of the investigating agency were “fighting like Kilkenny cats.”

CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana

Senior advocate Fali Nariman, appearing for Verma, had contended that in all circumstances the CVC and the Centre should have consulted the Selection Committee.

Verma had registered an FIR against Asthana and this was the reason for the Central government (DoPT) to divest him of his powers and functions, Nariman had contended.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Mallikarjun Kharge, who had filed a plea against the Centre’s and CVC decision of sending Verma on leave, had argued that the government does not have the power to remove or transfer the CBI Director.

The top court was hearing a petition filed by Verma against the Central government’s order to send him on leave in view of the corruption allegations levelled against him. The Central government had sent Verma and his deputy Asthana on leave after both levelled allegations of accepting bribes against each other.

However, the CBI on October 25 informed that Verma and Asthana would continue to retain their posts as CBI Director and Special Director, respectively.


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