The lawyer representing CBI Director Alok Verma on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the registration of an FIR against Rakesh Asthana was the reason for the Narendra Modi government to act against him.
Verma’s lawyer Fali Nariman told the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that the CBI Director had been divested of charges adding that he had been replaced by Nageshwar Rao. “This amounts to transfer,” Nariman added.
“There can’t be an acting CJI,. Likewise, there can’t be an acting CBI Director”, Nariman was quoted by LiveLaw website as saying.
The CJI too asked government lawyer Attorney General KK Venugopal about the extraordinary haste shown by the central government in having Verma removed from his post. The CJI, according to NDTV, asked, “If you had tolerated since July, it is not something that required immediate action as the circumstances were culminating for a long time.” This was in response to the Centre’s submission on Wednesday that the Centre needed to act since Verma and Asthana were fighting like ‘cats’ since July.
CJI added, “It is not that the fight between the two top CBI officers emerged overnight so as to force government to take immediate steps to divest the CBI Director of his powers without consulting the Selection Committee.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is appearing on behalf of the CVC, told the bench, “CVC has power of superintendence over CBI to deal with ‘suprise, extraordinary situations’. Extra ordinary situations call for extra ordinary remedies.” This prompted the CJI to ask, “Can CVC’s superintendence over CBI go beyond investigation of corruption cases, asks CJI, in reference to Sec 4(1) of DSPE Act and Sec.8 of CVC Act?”
The Supreme Court is hearing the extraordinary removal of Verma from his post in a midnight coup last month after he initiated action against Asthana, a Gujarat-cadre IPS officer, who’s believed to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Verma was also believed to have sought papers related to the Rafale deal, reportedly wanting to initiate a probe into questions raised by former union ministers, Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha and Prashant Bhushan.
Here are the updates:
- Dushyant Dave cites case of removal of Kerala DGP wherein Supreme Court had quashed the order of State govt (Bar and Bench)
- By removing Verma in this manner, the Govt is questioning the authority of the Committee of which CJI is also a part of: Dave (LiveLaw)
- CVC has power of superintendence only with respect to cases under Prevention of Corruption Act. CVC cannot replace the Director: Dave (LiveLaw)
- Now Dushyant Dave begins his argument on behalf of NGO Common Cause