SC sets 2-week deadline for probe into CBI chief Alok Verma, retired judge to oversee

New Delhi, October 26: The Central Vigilance Commission investigation against CBI director Alok Verma will be conducted under the supervision of a retired top court judge, the Supreme Court said on Friday and set a two-week deadline for this probe to be completed.

The top court also prohibited interim CBI director M Nageswar Rao from taking any major decisions and stick to routine tasks. A list of all decisions taken by Rao will have to be produced before the court in a sealed cover on the next date of hearing, November 12.

“We make it clear that the introspect or supervision of the ongoing enquiry by a former judge is a one-time exception felt necessary by this court on the peculiar facts of this case and does not reflect on the functioning of the CVC,” the three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

Friday’s hearing, in addition to a petition by Verma, also included a petition by non-profit organisation Common Cause, which also wanted the court to assign a special team to probe corruption charges against CBI special director Rakesh Asthana.

Verma and Asthana have been locked in a feud with both accusing the other of corruption, a situation that the government cited to send out a dramatic order issued overnight to send them both off duty. The Central Vigilance Commission said it had attempted to look into allegations against Verma but he didn’t cooperate.

Both petitions – Verma’s as well as the one filed by Common Cause – sought the removal of Asthana from CBI and the quashing of the order issued to appoint M Nageswar Rao as interim chief.

By Friday morning, Asthana also filed a petition against the government order sending him on leave. But the judges remarked, they hadn’t received a copy of his petition and quipped that he may just have “missed the bus”.

The 1986 batch IPS officer Nageswar Rao, who had been entrusted to look after the director’s role for the interim period, has been ordered not to take any major policy decisions and will only perform the routine tasks that are essential to keep the CBI functioning.

“A list of all decisions taken between Oct 23 and today and up to this hour including the decisions with respect of to transfer of investigation and change of officers will be furnished to this court in a sealed cover on the next hearing when orders would be passed appropriately,” the court ruled.

Source Hindustan Times

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