The Supreme Court on Friday called the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) issue “exhaustive” and said a decision would be taken on it on Tuesday.
A Bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said it would give an opportunity to CBI Director Alok Verma to respond to the report before passing the order. The Bench was hearing a writ petition moved by Verma challenging the government's decision to take him off work in a midnight order last month. The court earlier ordered that the CVC inquiry into Verma should be supervised by former apex court judge, Justice A K Patnaik.
The judges observed that the report, submitted in a sealed cover to the court, was “an exhaustive report”. “The report has been categorised in four parts and is very complimentary on some charges, not so complimentary on some charges and very uncomplimentary on some charges. CVC report says some charges are required to be investigated and they need time,” the CJI said and posted the matter for hearing on Tuesday.
The Bench, which also included Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M K Joseph, directed handing over of the report to senior counsel F S Nariman, representing Verma.
“Needless to say, the report of the CVC (is) directed to be furnished to the office of the Attorney General for India; to the office of the Solicitor General of India and to the learned counsel for the petitioner — Alok Kumar Verma... in sealed cover will be treated with utmost confidentiality for the reasons aforestated,” the Bench said.
Nariman will file his reply by Monday and it will be supplied to the Attorney General and the Solicitor General before the next hearing. All these will be in sealed covers. This was “to preserve the sanctity of CBI as an institution,” the order said. Verma approached the apex court challenging the decision to send him on leave following his feud with CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who has levelled corruption allegations against his senior. Both Asthana and Verma have alleged bribery charges against each other in several cases involving businessmen. Asthana has also been divested of his duties and sent on leave.
Pursuant to the top court’s order, the CVC’s inquiry into Verma was conducted under the supervision of Justice Patnaik and the report was filed in the court on November 12.
Asthana also asked for a copy of the CVC report — a request rejected by the court. Mukul Rohtagi, senior counsel representing Asthana, also requested for Verma’s reply, but the court sternly rejected it. The court said it would consider a report of the acting CBI Director Nageshwar Rao on the decisions taken by him. The court earlier barred him from taking any important decision, asking him to stick to routine administrative work. Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leader and member of the selection committee which selects top CBI directors, had also moved the court, challenging the government's action. Senior counsel Kapil Sibal sought impleadment but the court kept it pending.
CBI Deputy Superintendent of Police A K Bassi — who was transferred to Port Blair along with others in a mass transfer order at midnight — also wanted to be impleaded, but the court kept it pending for the hearing next week.