CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana moved the Supreme Court on Friday against the Centre’s decision to send him on leave. When senior advocate and former attorney general Mukul Rohatgi sought to argue for Asthana, the Supreme Court bench asked him whether any petition was moved by him. To which Rohatgi said that the petition was in the process of being filed. At this the court asked, "Why were you late?" and quipped that he had missed the bus by filing his petition in the morning.
“Why are you late? You have missed the bus. Your petition is not before us,” said the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
The three-judge Supreme Court bench was hearing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Verma’s petition challenging the government's decision to send him on leave and divest him of all powers. Senior jurist Fali Nariman represented Verma in the top court.
The two top CBI officials were sent on leave following a feud between them, as a fallout of which both accused each other of bribery in connection with cases being probed by the agency.
The CBI on Thursday had said both Verma and Asthana will retain their position in the agency as director and special director and Nageshwar Rao will remain interim chief till Central Vigilance Commission examines the allegations the two officials traded.
Advocate Gopal Shankarnarayana, who had filed the petition on Verma's behalf on Wednesday, had sought for an urgent hearing from the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.
"Over the recent past, although all functionaries within the CBI from the investigating officer and the superintending officers up to the Joint Director and the Director have agreed on a certain course of action, the Special Director has been of a different view," the plea said.
Shankarnarayana also challenged the decision of the government by which Joint Director M Nageswara Rao, a 1986-batch Odisha cadre IPS officer, has been given charge as head of the probe agency.