Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Friday refused to hear the petition filed by Rakesh Asthana, the special director of the CBI, who too was sent on leave along with his boss Alok Verma earlier this week. This was after Asthana’s lawyer and former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi arrived late in the court room.
“Why are you so late? We can’t hear a case, which is not listed before us,” Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who was heading the three-judge bench comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph told Rohatgi, according to NDTV.
The Centre came seemingly in defence of Asthana when its lawyer told the Supreme Court that an inquiry was needed to be commissioned on the corruption allegations against Asthana. To which, Chief Justice Gogoi bluntly responded, “We are only concerned with Mr Verma.”
This came as a setback to the Centre, which is used to not receiving such unfavourable responses from the top court. However, the departure of CJI Dipak Misra apepatrs to have changed the equation at the Supreme Court. CJI Gogoi was one of the top four judges, who had held an extraordinary press conference to complain about the questionable functioning of the Supreme Court under then then CJI, Dipak Misra.
The Supreme Court on Friday had said that an inquiry into corruption allegations against CBI Director Alok Verma will be completed in 10 days. In a visible setback to the Modi government, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had told the Attorney General that inquiry will be conducted by sitting or former judge of the Supreme Court. M Nageshwar Rao, who was appointed as the interim CBI chief by the Narendra Modi government, will not take any policy decisions, the top court had emphasised.
Verma had moved the Supreme Court earlier this week after the Centre carried out what was termed as a midnight constitutional coup, sending the CBI chief on long leave and sealing his office. Verma had initiated action against his number two, Rakesh Asthana, who is considered to be very close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.