Alok Verma case: Vigilance probe report filed in SC, next hearing on Nov 16
An inquiry report on ousted CBI director Alok Verma was submitted to the Supreme Court at the last minute on Monday, prompting the judges to defer the case to Friday. The top court had earlier given the Central Vigilance Commission, which was probing corruption charges against Verma, 2 weeks to submit its report. The deadline ended on Sunday.
But it was only during Monday’s hearing that government lawyers passed on three volumes of the report in a sealed cover.
The bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi told the government that it was late. The judges said they had kept the court’s registry open on Sunday and has the registrar waiting for the report to be filed till 11:30 am.
This would have given the judges time to go through the inquiry report
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta said that there was a delay of an hour in filing the report.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who was appearing for NGO Common Cause, objected to the acting CBI director Nageshwar Rao taking decisions despite the SC order against it.
“The spirit of our earlier order is that the acting CBI director will not take a policy decision,” Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
Rao also filed details of the decisions taken by him following the shakeup in the agency in a sealed envelope.
Verma, who has a running feud with the premier agency’s special director Rakesh Asthana, has been appearing before the three-member panel headed by KV Chowdary and is understood to have given point-wise refusal to all the allegations levelled against him by his deputy.
In an October 26 order, the court gave CVC two weeks to complete the probe against Verma, who has accused the government of interfering with CBI’s independence and autonomy. It also said the inquiry will be done under the supervision of a retired SC judge in a “one-time exception”.
The Congress party’s leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, too has filed a petition in the matter, saying he should be heard because he is a member of the three-member committee that selects the CBI chief.
The other two panel members are the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India (CJI). Kharge is part of the panel as the leader of the largest opposition party in Parliament’s Lower House.
Verma and Asthana were divested of their responsibilities last month after engaging in an unprecedented public feud in which they traded allegations of corruption against each other. Asthana has also moved the Supreme Court with a separate petition in the matter and has sought removal of Verma from the post of CBI director.