SC says yet to study CVC report in CBI case
NEW DELHI: The CBI vs CBI case has been adjourned to next Wednesday - Dec.5. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Kumar Verma had approached the court against government’s decision to divest him of duties and send him on leave until that date.
The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph said the court is yet to examine the inquiry report submitted by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on Verma. “If necessary all parties will be given opportunity to respond,” the judges said.
Verma did not get a stay against the government order, but the court has asked the CBI to keep a record of all transfers made after he was sent on forced leave.
Verma’s lawyer, Senior barrister Fali S. Nariman, countered the court’s arguments about the leak of some court papers on the case last week. Verma’s response to the CVC’S indings against him had found their way into the media. Nariman asserted that the court cannot prohibit publication of the content of the petition as Article 19 of the Constitution is paramount and added, “If I ile something tomorrow in the Registry then it can be published.”
He also referred to the top court’s 2012 judgment in a case on the issue. He added that if the top court later prohibits then the matter cannot be published.
The judges reminded that Verma did not get a clean bill in the vigilance report.
The CVC probe against Verma was supervised by former Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik and the investigation was completed on Nov.10.
Nariman argued that the government’s order stripping Verma of his responsibilities had no basis. Verma was appointed on Feb.1, 2017 and “the position of law is that there will be a ixed tenure of two years and this gentleman cannot be even transferred.”
He pressed the argument that the CBI director can be removed only with the approval of a committee, and that the “government order cannot stand in the absence of permission from the committee.”
Attorney General KK Venugopal said Verma was never removed. “Alok Verma continues to hold the status of CBI Director and enjoys all privileges and beneits of the post till date,” he said.
“The government’s intervention was to protect the public conidence in CBI, which was getting negative in view of the serious ight between two of its top oficials. The intervention was in public interest,” he said.