Prashant Bhushan moves top court against interim CBI chief
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan today moved the Supreme Court challenging Nageswar Rao’s appointment as interim Director of the CBI.
Rao was appointed as the interim CBI chief last Thursday after incumbent Alok Verma was sacked by a majority decision of a three-member panel comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, SC justice AK Sikri and Lok Sabha opposition leader Malikarjun Kharge.
Bhushan, through his NGO Common Cause, approached the apex court against Rao’s appointment arguing that according to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi’s verdict, it was mandatory that the panel has to decide over the appointment and removal of the CBI director.
Bhushan had earlier said that Verma’s removal showed PM Modi’s desperation to prevent any investigation into Rafale deal. The Congress had made a similar charge.
Rao had earlier been appointed as interim Director after the government sent Verma and CBO Special Director Rakesh Asthana on forced leave on October 23, 2018. Rao is a 1986 batch Indian Police Service officer of Odisha cadre.
Within hours of taking over as interim CBI director for the second time, Rao reversed all the transfer orders issued by Verma on Wednesday and Thursday.
On 8 January, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Gogoi set aside the government order of 23 October divesting Verma of his powers and appointing CBI joint director Nageswar Rao as the interim chief appointing after Verma was sent on leave.
Verma was reinstated as the director of the CBI but was barred from taking any fresh policy decisions till the high-powered committee reviewed CVC’s findings against him.