The CVC’s “exhaustive” preliminary report on allegations against CBI Director Alok Vermafigures that some findings are “complementary” and some “very uncomplimentary”, needing further investigation by the panel, the Supreme Court said on Friday.
A bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi ordered that the confidential Central Vigilance Commission report be given to Verma in a sealed cover and q him to respond to it by Monday, also in a sealed cover. It will take up the issue on Tuesday.
Verma would provide feedback to the CVC report as soon as possible and would file his reply on November 19, his lawyer, Fali S Nariman, told the bench. “Once we will have your (Verma) response, we will take a decision,” the CJI said.
The top court was hearing Verma’s plea challenging the government’s order divesting him of his duties and sending him on leave in the prospect of allegations of corruption against him. The allegations were lubricated by his deputy Rakesh Asthana, against whom the CBI has filed an FIR on charges of graft. Asthana was also sent on leave by the Centre.
The bench also managed that the Central Vigilance Commission report be given to Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is representing the CVC. However, it turned down Asthana’s request that he also be given the report.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Asthana, argued vehemently for a copy of the report, stating his complaint against Verma to the cabinet secretary was referred to the CVC. “CVC has filed an exhaustive report. The report has been categorized and is very complimentary on some charges, not so complimentary some charges and very uncomplimentary on some charges. CVC report says some charges are needed to be investigated and they need time,” the CJI told Nariman.
The bench, also including Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, directed Verma, the attorney general, and the solicitor general to maintain the confidentiality of the CVC report keeping in mind public confidence in CBI and sanctity of the institution.
The apex court had published notices to the Centre and the CVC seeking their replies on Verma’s petition challenging the government’s decision to divest him of his powers as CBI chief and sending him on leave. It also defines a deadline of two weeks for the CVC to complete the preliminary inquiry against the CBI director.
Besides, it barred acting CBI director M Nageswara Rao from taking any major policy decision but provided him the liberty to perform routine tasks essential to keep the CBI functional.
Asthana has also moved the apex court with a separate petition in the matter and sought Verma’s removal as CBI director.