Bench adjourns hearing on probe into accusations against exiled CBI chief
A 24-hour delay by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in filing its report on the inquiry against exiled CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma led the Supreme Court to adjourn Monday’s crucial hearing to November 16 (Friday). The report was submitted before a Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul in a sealed cover. It was then that Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, for the CVC, said the inquiry into the charges against Mr. Verma got over on November 10. At this, Chief Justice Gogoi made the court’s displeasure evident on the delayed filing.
“You did not file the report… the Supreme Court Registry was specifically opened till 11.30 a.m. on Sunday [November 11],” Chief Justice Gogoi said, pulling up the CVC.
‘Delay in reaching court’
Mr. Mehta said there was a delay in reaching the court, and by the time the Registry was closed.
“There was no information from you… You could have filed the report even at 1 p.m., provided you had informed the Registry,” Chief Justice Gogoi retorted. “They [the CVC] could open their offices at 2 a.m. on October 23 to pass orders against Alok Verma, but they could not file their inquiry report on time,” remarked senior advocate Dushyant Dave, for petitioner NGO Common Cause. Mr. Mehta then apologised, following which the court allowed the CVC report to be placed on record. The Bench was supposed to peruse the CVC report on Monday and may have even passed orders on the legality of the “overnight” removal of Mr. Verma from the top post of the country’s premier investigating agency on October 23. The removal came in the background of a bitter feud between Mr. Verma and CBI Special Director R.K. Asthana. Mr Verma had okayed a corruption FIR against Mr. Asthana.
CBI chief’s report
The court also took on record a separate report filed by acting CBI Director M. Nageshwar Rao detailing the decisions he took after assuming office on Mr. Verma’s removal. The Supreme Court had clipped Mr. Rao’s wings on October 26, directing him not to take any major or policy decisions for now. Mr. Dave, however, accused Mr. Rao of violating the Supreme Court order.