The petition of Alok Verma, the CBI chief, which had challenged the decision of the government to divest him of all his powers, is being heard by the Supreme Court today. In the hearing Gogoi J. Remarks that enquiry by CVC should be completed in ten days and should be under supervision of a Supreme Court judge. Also The CVC inquiry to be conducted under supervision of retired Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik, order Supreme Court. Verma had moved the Supreme Court concerning the midnight action of the government on Tuesday, stating that the autonomy of the premier investigation agency of India is in question. He was divested of all powers after his tiff with deputy Rakesh Asthana that surfaced, with each of them trading charges of bribery. Asthana as well was sent on leave by the government. Another plea by non-profit Common Cause, urging for a Special Investigative Team probe into corruption allegations against CBI officials will also be heard by the Supreme Court bench.
Alok Verma has challenged the government order on the grounds that a 1998 verdict by the Supreme Court specified that the CBI Director should have a fixed minimum tenure of two years. His petition also states his deputy Rakesh Asthana “concocted evidence” against him to accuse him of corruption.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph will hear Alok Verma’s petition. This is the first high profile case that is to be heard by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
Further, senior jurist Fali Nariman will represent Alok Verma in the Supreme Court; Attorney General KK Venugopal will represent the centre, and the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta will appear for the Central Vigilance Commission.
The centre is likely to argue that recent events have degraded the premier investigating agency and the government acted on the advice of the CVC. It may say that institutional integrity is important than any individual.