CVC report on CBI Director has some ‘very uncomplimentary’ findings: SC

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New Delhi, Nov 16 (AGENCIES): The CVC’s “exhaustive” preliminary report on allegations against CBI Director Alok Verma concludes that some findings are “complimentary” and some “very uncomplimentary”, needing further investigation by the panel, the Supreme Court said Friday.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi ordered that the confidential Central Vigilance Commission report be given to Verma in a sealed cover and asked him to respond to it by Monday, also in a sealed cover. It will take up the matter on Tuesday. Verma would respond to the CVC report as soon as possible and would file his reply on November 19, his lawyer, Fali S Nariman, told the bench.

“Once we will have your (Verma) response, we will take a decision,” the CJI said. The top court was hearing Verma’s plea challenging the government’s order divesting him of his duties and sending him on leave in view of allegations of corruption against him.

The allegations were levelled by his deputy Asthana, against whom the CBI has filed an FIR on charges of graft. Asthana was also sent on leave by the Centre. The bench also directed that the Central Vigilance Commission report be given to Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is representing the CVC. However, it turned down Asthana’s request that he also be provided the report.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Asthana, argued vehemently for a copy of the report, saying his complaint against Verma to the cabinet secretary was referred to the CVC. “CVC has filed an exhaustive report. The report has been categorised and is very complimentary on some charges, not so complimentary some charges and very uncomplimentary on some charges. CVC report says some charges are required to be investigated and they need time,” the CJI told Nariman.

The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, directed Verma, the attorney general and the solicitor general to maintain confidentiality of the CVC report keeping in mind public confidence in CBI and sanctity of the institution. The bench told senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for NGO Common Cause, which has filed a separate petition seeking a probe by special investigation team against CBI officers, he had earlier claimed that acting CBI director M Nageswara Rao has taken policy decision despite the apex court order but has not filed a list of the decisions.

“We will presume that he (Rao) has not taken any major policy decision because you have not given us list of decisions by him,” the bench told Dave. Rao has already filed in the court the decisions taken by him from October 23-26, the court added.

Dave told the bench that he would file a list of decisions taken by Rao. To this, the court court said it would be for them (Dave) to supplant the list given by Rao. The bench also dealt with the application of Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and CBI Dy SP A K Bassi, who has been transferred to Port Blair.

The bench said that it would consider the matter on the next date. During the hearing, Mehta told the bench he should also be given a copy of the CVC report. “You (CVC) have not got it. You are the author of the report and you have not seen it?” the bench asked him.

The solicitor general said he has not seen it as the court had earlier ordered that the CVC’s report be placed in sealed cover. The CVC probe against Verma was supervised by former Supreme Court judge A K Patnaik and the probe was completed on November 10.

The apex court had issued notices to the Centre and the CVC seeking their replies on Verma’s petition challenging the government’s decision to divest him of his powers as CBI chief and sending him on leave. It also set a deadline of two weeks for the CVC to complete the preliminary inquiry against the CBI director.

Besides, it barred Rao from taking any major policy decision but granted him the liberty to perform routine tasks essential to keep the CBI functional. Asthana has also moved the apex court with a separate petition in the matter and  sought Verma’s removal as CBI director.

On November 4, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had moved the top court contending that divesting Verma of his statutory powers and functions is “completely illegal and arbitrary”.In an interlocutory application filed in the pending petition, Kharge, who is also a member of the three-member selection committee which appoints the CBI director, said  “as a concerned stakeholder he brings to the attention of the court the brazen and illegal actions” of the political executive in interfering with the independent functioning of the CBI director.

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