The Supreme Court of India Friday provided time till November 19 to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Alok Verma to respond to the report filed by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and fixed November 20 to be the next date of the hearing.
The CVC was also directed by the court to hand over the report to Verma in a sealed cover, and maintain the confidentiality of the document.
During the hearing, the court observed that the CVC report on Verma was “complimentary” on some charges, “not so complimentary” on some charges and “very uncomplimentary” on some charges. The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, added that further inquiry was required into some charges.
The court has also ordered that a copy of the report be given to Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. The court turned down Special CBI Director Rakesh Asthana’s request that the CVC report be provided to him as well.
The SC was hearing petitions filed Verma and NGO Common Cause challenging the government of India’s order to strip Verma of his position. On October 26, the court had given the CVC two weeks to complete its probe against Verma, which is being monitored by its retired judge, Justice A K Patnaik. On Monday, the CVC had submitted its preliminary report to the court.
According to reports, Verma was ‘forcibly’ sent on leave after a tussle with his deputy and Special CBI Director Rakesh Asthana.
Verma has been accused by Asthana of accepting bribe from meat exporter Moin Qureshi. Asthana has been accused of indulging in corrupt practices by Verma.
Verma has been appearing before the three-member CVC headed by K V Chowdary and is understood to have given point-wise refusal to all the allegations levelled against him by his deputy.
Last month, an FIR was registered against Asthana and others, including Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, who is in CBI custody in an alleged bribery case. After the tussle between the two senior officers became public, the GoI, in a sudden overnight strike on October 23, divested both Verma and Asthana of their duties and sent them on leave.
The very next day, Verma challenged his removal in the top court that issued notices to both the GoI and the CVC. The court directed the CVC to complete the inquiry against the CBI director within two weeks.
Meanwhile, the court had also barred IPS officer M Nageswara Rao, who has been given interim charge of the CBI, from taking any major decision.