08/01/2019 10:58 AM IST

Win For Alok Verma As Supreme Court Reinstates Him As CBI Director

The top court set aside Centre’s decision to divest Alok Kumar Verma of his powers.

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside Centre’s decision to divest CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma of his powers and reinstated him as the director of the investigative agency. 

The judgement, which was authored by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, was read out by Justice SK Kaul in the apex court.

The top court reinstated Verma as CBI Director, but said that he “can’t take major policy decisions till the decision of the selection committee”, according to News18.

Live Law reported that the Supreme Court has directed the high power committee under Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act to act within a week to consider his case. 

The Centre had taken a decision against Verma and CBI’s Special Director Rakesh Asthana after their feud become public as they made allegations of corruption against each other.

Verma has sought quashing of three orders of 23 October, 2018 — one by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and two by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), as being without jurisdiction and in violation of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

CBI’s Joint Director M Nageswara Rao, a 1986 batch Odisha-cadre IPS officer, was given the charge of interim chief of the probe agency.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had on 6 December reserved the judgement after hearing arguments on behalf of Verma, the Centre, the CVC and others.

The court had also heard the plea moved by NGO Common Cause which had sought a court-monitored SIT probe into the allegations of corruption against various CBI officials, including Asthana.

Verma’s two-year tenure as CBI director ends on 31 January. He had moved the top court challenging the Centre’s decision.

The Centre had justified its decision to divest Verma of his duties and sending him on leave before the apex court saying he and Asthana were fighting like “Kilkenny cats”, exposing the country’s premier investigating agency to “public ridicule”.

Attorney General KK Venugopal had told the bench, also comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph, that the Centre was well “within its right to intervene” and send both officers on leave by divesting them of their powers.

Venugopal had told the court that “only the God knows where and how this fight between the two top officers would have ended” if the government would not have taken the action which was aimed at restoring the public faith in the CBI.

Challenging the government’s decision, Verma’s counsel and senior advocate Fali S Nariman had argued that the CBI Director was appointed on 1 February, 2017 and “the position of law is that there will be a fixed tenure of two years and this gentleman cannot be even transferred”.

(With PTI inputs)