SC reserves order on Alok Verma's plea, says govt action must be in interest of CBI
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on a plea filed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Verma and NGO Common Cause challenging the government's decision to divest him of his charges.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi reserved the order on the conclusion of arguments by the Centre, Central Vigilance Commission and CBI on one hand, and petitioner Verma, the NGO and others on the other hand.
Verma's petition had challenged the Centre's October 23 decision divesting him of his powers as the head of the premier investigating body in the country.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central Vigilance Commission, referred to apex court judgements and laws governing the CBI.
The apex court said it was not that the fight between the CBI director and Special Director Rakesh Asthana emerged overnight, forcing the govt to divest the director of powers without consulting the Selection Committee.
The CBI director and the special director were fighting like "kilkenny cats", exposing the country's premier investigating agency to "public ridicule", the government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday while justifying the decision to divest Verma of his duties.
Attorney General (AG) K K Venugopal also told the top court that the government was well "within its right to intervene" and send both officers on leave by divesting them of their powers.
The top law officer asserted that "only the God knows where and how this fight between the two top officers would have ended" if the government would not have taken the action which was aimed at restoring the public faith in the CBI.
The court was hearing pleas of Verma, who is challenging the Centre's decision against him, and NGO Common Cause, seeking a court-monitored SIT probe into allegations of corruption against various CBI officials, including Asthana.