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All eyes peeled for SC call on Verma

Court to decide on CBI Director Alok Verma’s challenge against Govt’s midnight order to divest him of power

In the scandalous CBI infighting saga, all eyes will be set on the Supreme Court on Friday when it takes up the petition of the agency’s Director Alok Verma against the Government order sending him on a forced long leave and divesting him of all his power. The Government had through a late night order on Tuesday sent Verma and CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana on forced leave following allegations and counter-allegations of corruption. The Government appointed CBI Joint Director M Nageshwar Rao as the interim director. Verma had on Wednesday challenged the Government’s decision to remove him from the post citing the fixed two-year tenure that the post of the CBI Director carries. The apex court had fixed on Friday as the date of the hearing in the matter. Meanwhile, the CBI on Thursday clarified that Verma and Asthana, who have been divested of their powers, continue to be the Director and Special Director respectively of the agency. With the assertion on the eve of the Supreme Court hearing, the Government may argue that Verma has not been removed from the post but only sent on administrative leave in view of the “extraordinary and unprecedented” situation in the agency whose credibility is getting eroded due to the infighting. The Government has also accused Verma of “willfully obstructing” the functioning of the CVC that has the authority of superintendence over the CBI in cases relating to the Prevention of Corruption Act. Posting of M Nageswar Rao as interim chief of the CBI is only an interim arrangement until the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) decides on its probe involving both, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said. In his petition to the Supreme Court, Verma contended that the CBI is expected to function completely independently and autonomously, there are bound to be occasions when certain investigations into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the Government. Verma also contended that the Centre and the CVC’s moves were “patently illegal” and such interference “erodes” the independence and autonomy of the Central Bureau of Investigation. More drama in the CBI vs CBI episode may unfold in the coming days with the possibility of registration of a case against Verma as the Central Vigilance Commission had in its reference to the Government on Tuesday termed the allegations leveled by his deputy Rakesh Asthana as “serious” in nature. Rao has to take a call on the CVC’s notings soon as the agency has been on record saying that investigation against the two top officials should not only look to be fair but also send out an impression that it is being conducted fairly. read more post… Friday, 26 October 2018 | Rakesh K Singh | New Delhi–

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