The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on the plea filed by CBI director Alok Verma against the decision of the Narendra Modi government to divest him of his powers and send him on forced leave. Hearing the exiled CBI chief’s plea, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the Centre why the selection committee was not consulted before sending him on leave. "If you had tolerated since July, it is not something that required immediate action as the circumstances were culminating for a long time," Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) decision was taken as extraordinary situation arose. He said that instead of probing serious cases, the two senior most officers were fighting and investigating cases against each other and it would have been dereliction of duty had the CVC not acted.
On this, CJI said that even if the situation was as bad as it became necessary to intervene, what was the harm in consulting with the selection committee that comprises the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Earlier on Tuesday, Attorney General KK Venugopal, had told the court that the decision was taken after “extraordinary circumstances” as the two warring CBI officers were fighting like “cats” for months. The Attorney General said that the the fight between CBI director Alok Verma and his deputy, special director Rakesh Asthana, rediculed the country's premeir investigating agency.
Both Verma and Asthana have accused each other of taking bribe from a Hyderabad businessman to clear his name from a case. Following the infighting between the warring CBI officers, the Narendra Modi govenrment on October 24 had sent both Verma and his deputy Asthana on forced leave. The government also divested them of their powers, a decision termed illegal and challeneged by Alok Verma in the Supreme Court.