Quashing Centre's Order, Supreme Court Reinstates Exiled CBI Chief Alok Verma To The Post
Seems like the whole internal war that had been raging in the Central Investigation Bureau (CBI), has come to an end. At least for the time being. On January 8, the exiled CBI Chief Alok Verma was reinstated to the post by the Supreme Court.
Verma was sent on a “compulsory wait” on October 23 on the orders of the government of India. After this, Verma challenged the government’s orders, saying that a CBI Chief has a fixed tenure of two years, removal of whom would happen only under extraordinary circumstances with approval from a high-powered committee. Notably, Verma’s tenure ends on January 31.
“Legislative intent of insulating the CBI director is manifest”
The Supreme Court bench which gave this judgement comprised of three judges who took a unanimous decision of the quashing the centre’s order. The three judges said, “The legislative intent of insulating the CBI director is manifest.”
Notably, reinstating Verma to the post comes with its own set of conditions. The SC has directed the government to form a committee, consisting of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice and the leader of the Opposition to see if any action is required to be taken against Verma. Until then, CBI Chief is not permitted to take any major policy decision. The committee has been asked to meet within a week.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, post the SC ruling said that the decision to send Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana on compulsory wait was based on the recommendations of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), as reported by NDTV. “The government felt that in the larger interest of fair and impartial investigation and credibility of CBI, the two officers must recuse themselves,” he added. He also added that with this decision, the court has strengthened the immunity given to the CBI director and it is in the interest of impartial working of CBI. “At the same time, the court has devised an accountability mechanism. The directions of the court will obviously be complied with,” he further said.
Decision to send the warring officials on leave
This decision of sending the two officials (Verma and Asthana) on leave came at the midnight with Joint Director of CBI, M Nageshwar Rao was then given the temporary in-charge. The decision came after the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) passed an order seeking their removal.
Both were stripped of all their responsibilities then. There were reports of Alok Verma’s offices being sealed and searched at, however, CBI later issued a clarification saying that no office has been sealed.