CBI-Alok Verma Dispute: SC orders CVC to hand over probe report to Alok Verma for his response
The Supreme Court on November 16, 2018 ruled that the vigilance probe report of the CVC against ousted CBI Director Alok Verma gives out “mixed” findings and indicated that some charges need to be investigated further.
As per the apex court, the report can be categorised in four points- very complimentary on some charges; not so complementary on others; very uncomplimentary on some charges and some charges require further investigation.
A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S. K. Kaul and K. M. Joseph expressed gratitude to retired SC judge Justice AK Patnaik, who filed the report on basis of supervision of CVC probe as per SC directions.
CVC to hand over the report to CBI Director Alok Kumar
The court directed the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to hand over the copy of the probe report to CBI Director Alok Kumar in a sealed cover and asked Verma to file his response by November 19, 2018. The matter will now be heard on November 20.
The court stated that the report should also be handed over to Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. The court ruled this with an aim to preserve the sanctity of the CVC and public confidence in the institution.
No information on the important decisions taken by M Nageshwar Rao
The Court noted that, so far, no details have been submitted setting out the important decisions taken by Interim Director M Nageshwar Rao.
October 2018 ruling of Supreme Court
The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on October 26, 2018 directed the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to complete enquiry into divested CBI chief Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana cases in two weeks under retired Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik.
The Court clarified that the allocation of supervision of investigation to a former SC judge was a one-time exception and it should not be understood as reflection on any authority of Government of India.
The bench also ruled that Interim Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), M Nageswara Rao, is not authorised to take any policy decisions.
The bench directed that the decisions taken by Rao between October 23 -26, including transfers of investigations, change of Investigating Officers, etc. shall be furnished before the apex court in a sealed cover on November 12, 2018.
Nageshwar Rao shall not take any policy or major decisions and will only perform the routine processes to keep the CBI functioning.
Who filed the petition?
The bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S K Kaul and Justice K M Joseph was hearing the petition filed by CBI Director Alok Verma and PIL filed by NGO Common Cause against the orders of CVC and Central Government divesting Verma of the powers of CBI Director and giving the charge of CBI to M. Nageshwara Rao.
CBI-Alok Verma- Rakesh Asthana Dispute
After a spell of internal strife in the CBI, the CVC and Central Government divested CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana from their roles and asked them to go on leave. Verma and Asthana accused each other of taking bribe and blocking investigation of several important cases.
Asthana, a 1984 batch Indian Police Service officer of Gujarat cadre, is alleged to have demanded a bribe of Rs 5 crore and accepting Rs 2 crore from a Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana through two middlemen Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad to help Sana get clear of his charges in the Moin Qureshi case. The case was being examined by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Asthana.
On the other hand, CBI chief Verma also alleged corruption charges on Asthana with regard to the Sterling Biotech case.
However, Asthana hit back by writing to the Cabinet Secretary saying that Verma received Rs 2 crore bribe in the Moin Qureshi case and had tried to stop a raid on Lalu Prasad in the IRCTC case, alleging corruption on Verma’s part.