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Top CBI officials were fighting like cats: Attorney General to SC

ANI  |  New Delhi [India] 

KK Venugopal, who was defending the Centre's decision in the over sending (CBI) on leave, has said that the dispute between the and Special was tarnishing the reputation of the institution. He added that both the top officials of the investigating agency were "fighting like cats."

"The fight between Verma and Asthana was becoming critical and matter of public debate. The of was watching with amazement as to what the top officers were doing. They were fighting like cats," the told the apex court.

The on Wednesday began hearing a petition filed by Verma against the Central government's decision to send him on leave in view of the allegations of corruption against him.

The apex court asked Venugopal: "Is there any evidence of Director going public about the infighting?" Responding to this, the gave the court newspaper clippings.

The Attorney General told the apex court that the Centre's action was necessary to restore public confidence in the institution of the as the situation needed the Centre's intervention. He added: "After careful consideration and examination of the issue, the Central was satisfied and took the decision to divest CBI Director of his power."

The action against CBI director Alok Verma does not amount to transfer and only his functions have been withdrawn, the Attorney General clarified. "It is well settled that transfer is a change from one station to another and Verma is retaining his designation, bungalow, and benefits," he added.

The Attorney General told the apex court that the Centre divested both the Director and Special due to their public spat. Defending the Centre, he further said that the Centre acted in its jurisdiction and it had acted the way it should have. It was essential for the of to step in. The Attorney General said that Verma has been divested of all powers, function, and duties supervisory role in any manner.

"As far as the is concerned, it acted within the jurisdiction. If it would not have done so, the only god knows where this spat between the top officers may have ended. It was essential for the Government of India to step in," Attorney General further said.

The Attorney General told the apex court: "The was very concerned about what was happening in the CBI because two senior-most officers were fighting in public. The Government and the (CVC) had to take a decision on who is right and who is wrong. The CBI itself was ridiculed."

appearing for the CVC told the apex court that the commission shall be responsible for the efficient functioning of the CBI. The investigative agency shall report to the CVC.

The CVC would have been answerable to the and the Parliament if it would not have acted, Mehta said.

The bench headed by of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and also comprising Justices and K M Joseph, was hearing the petition, challenging the validity of CBI Director Alok Verma being sent on leave by the Centre.

Verma had filed a petition in the apex court challenging the decision of the to send him on leave. Verma is being represented by Mallikarjun Kharge, leader, has also challenged the order and is being represented by

The recently sent Verma and his deputy on leave after both levelled allegations of accepting bribes against each other. However, the CBI on October 25 informed that Verma and Asthana would continue to remain as CBI Director and Special Director, respectively.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, December 05 2018. 17:26 IST