NEW DELHI: In a big relief to CBI Director Alok Verma the Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed the Centre's decision to send him on forced leave.
The CBI director had challenged the government's decision to send him on leave and divest him of his duties.
Pronouncing the unanimous judgement authored by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi but read by Justice S K Kaul as CJI was unavailable today said, “There is no provision in law which permit the government to divest the CBI director of his powers and functions without prior consent from the high powered select committee.”
However, the court ordered Verma not to take any major or policy decision with regard to functioning of CBI on his resuming as CBI Director and asked the government to take the controversy before the Select Committee comprising PM, leader of opposition and CJI for further decision in a week’s time but no time has been fixed for taking decisions. Verma's two-year tenure comes to an end on January 31.
Verma and NGO Common Cause had filed a plea was filed after the Centre decided to divest him of his charge and send him on forced leave in the intervening night of October 23-24. He had contended that divesting him of his powers to act as CBI Director and entrusting it to Joint Director M Nageswara Rao was tantamount to his transfer and same could not have been done without going back to the selection committee, as mandated under the law.
The government had argued that it had no option but to send both officers on leave since they were fighting like "kilkenny cats".
The CBI Director has been accused by CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana of taking bribe from a Hyderabad-based businessman being investigated by the agency. Verma has accused Asthana of the same crime.