Alok Verma back as CBI director as Supreme Court sets aside govt order

The SC has restrained him from taking any major policy decisions till the selection committee considers the allegations against him.
Alok Verma back as CBI director as Supreme Court sets aside govt order
Alok Verma back as CBI director as Supreme Court sets aside govt order
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside the government’s order divesting Alok Verma of powers of CBI director and reinstated him as the chief of the central investigation agency. The apex court has directed that the High Power Committee, comprising of the Prime Minister, CJI and Leader of Opposition, consider his case under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DSPE) Act and the allegations against him and act within a week. Till a final decision is taken by the committee, Alok Verma cannot take any major policy decisions.

“The word "transfer" cannot be given its normal meaning. It has to be understood as encompassing acts affecting the functioning of the CBI Director. The legislative intent of insulating CBI Director is manifest,” the judgement stated.

The judgement, authored by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, was read out by Justice Sanjay Kaul in the absence of the CJI. Alok Verma had moved Supreme Court against his ouster on October 24 and a bench comprising CJI Gogoi and Justices KM Joseph and Sanjay Kaul was hearing the case.

Verma had contended that divesting him of his powers to act as CBI Director and entrusting it to Joint Director M. Nageswara Rao was tantamount to his transfer and same could not have been done without going back to the selection committee, as mandated under the law.

Verma had referred to Section 4B(2) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, which says: "The Director shall not be transferred except with the previous consent of the Committee referred to in sub-section (1) of section 4A."

The court had also said that it would have been "better to consult the Selection Committee than not consulting it" as the "the essence of every government action is what is best in the interest of administration".

The court had said this as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta while defending the action against Verma had tried to impress upon the court that the exercise of power of superintendence over CBI by the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) also covered the investigating agency's director.

"CVC could not have been the mute spectator to all that was going on. Two top CBI officers instead of doing their work were investigating each other. CVC is answerable to the President, Parliament and the judiciary as well if it has not acted," Mehta had told the court defending CVC's intervention.

Defending the decision to divest Anil Verma of his charge as CBI Director, the Centre had told the top court that it had to intervene to curb the wrangling in the investigating agency, as it top officers -- CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana -- were fighting like "Kilkenny cats" and were denting the credibility and integrity of the premier investigating agency.

"The government of India was watching with amazement the way these two top officers were fighting like Kilkenny cats and looked at the situation in totality (before intervening)," the Centre had told the top court.

Alok Verma's two-year-long tenure is scheduled to end on January 31. 

(With IANS inputs)

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