New Delhi: With the Supreme Court asking the CVC to complete its inquiry against benched CBI chief Alok Verma within two weeks under a retired judge’s supervision, a top government source said Friday the directions do not cast any ‘aspersion’ on the vigilance authority.
“The Supreme Court has not quashed the orders of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the central government divesting the powers of Verma and CBI’s Special Director Rakesh Asthana and appointment of Nageshwar Rao as interim chief of the investigation agency,” the source said.
Explaining the order passed by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, the source said the supervision of the inquiry by a retired judge of the apex court is without any aspersion on the CVC and it has been done keeping in mind the extraordinary circumstances in this case.
“The orders of the CVC and the central government have not been quashed. The power of the CVC to enquire has been upheld. However, time limit of two weeks has been imposed,” the source said.
The court also did not set aside the appointment of interim Director M Nageshwar Rao, though he has been advised not to take any policy decision and to submit all his decisions to the apex court.
“The intention of the central government was to create a conducive atmosphere to enable a fair enquiry into allegations and counter-allegations made by the Director and Special Director of the CBI against each other,” the source said.
The central government has made interim arrangements for day-to-day working of the CBI and this has also been allowed by the Supreme Court, the source said.
The court order followed a plea filed by Verma before the Supreme Court against the government action. Asthana has also filed a separate petition. The court made it clear that from now on Rao, who is a Joint Director of CBI, would only perform routine tasks.
During the hearing, the court at first remarked that decisions taken by Rao since October 23 are not be implemented but later it refrained and ordered that it would decide on that aspect only after perusing the decisions taken by him.
The bench sought responses from the Centre and CVC on the plea of Verma who has also sought a stay on the Centre’s order giving interim charge of his post to Rao. However, this prayer was not raised during the hearing.
The bench also dealt with the separate plea by NGO, Common Cause, which has sought a probe by special investigation team against CBI officers including Asthana, and issued notices to the Centre, CBI, CVC, Asthana, Verma and Rao asking them to respond to it by November 12.
Senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for Verma, said that the CBI director was appointed for a two year tenure with the approval of a selection panel comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India.
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