Mixed findings in CVC report against CBI chief: SC

Mixed findings in CVC report against CBI chief: SC

Courtesy : Nationalist Bureau19/11/2018 09:20

New Delhi: Stating that the CVC probe report against CBI Director Alok Verma has “mixed” findings, the Supreme Court has allowed the central investigating agency’s ousted chief access to it. However, Rakesh Asthana - the main complainant - won't be given access to this report despite his request for it.

The apex court has asked Verma to maintain the secrecy of the CVC report and to file his response based on its contents. The next date 0f hearing in the case has been fixed for November 20.

The vigilance probe against Verma has given “mixed” findings and indicated that some charges need to be investigated further, the Supreme Court said after examining the report given to the top court by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

It has said that it needs more time to probe certain charges thoroughly.

Summarising the CVC findings, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the report “can be categorised in four; very complimentary on some charges, not so on others; very uncomplimentary on some charges and some charges require further investigation.”

The top court has asked Verma to file his response to these findings by Monday.

Justice Gogoi said it was considered necessary to seek his response “keeping in mind the need to preserve and maintain the sanctity and public confidence in the said institution (CBI)”.

The government’s two top law officers, Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehra will also get a copy of the inquiry report in a sealed cover.

“Needless to say the reports directed to be furnished to the office of AG and SG will be treated with utmost confidentiality,” CJI Gogoi said.

The top court, in its October 31 order, had directed the CVC to probe corruption charges against the CBI director under the supervision of retired Supreme Court judge A K Patnaik, and submit its report in two weeks.

The commission, however, submitted the report a day late on November 16.

Besides the plea filed by Verma, the court is also seized of the public interest litigation filed by NGO Common Cause, which has sought a probe by a special investigation team against CBI officers.

The court had issued notices to the Centre, CBI, CVC, special CBI director Rakesh Asthana, Verma and Rao asking them to respond to it by November 12. The CVC had filed its preliminary enquiry report in the top court that day.

Alok Verma was divested of his responsibilities on the intervening night of October 23 and 24 after his running feud with his deputy Asthana threw the federal investigation agency into disarray.

Asthana wrote to the cabinet secretary on August 24, alleging Verma’s interference in sensitive cases and claiming that the director had taken a bribe. The cabinet secretary asked CVC to look into the matter.

On October 15, CBI, in turn, filed an FIR against Asthana accusing him of corruption.

Verma challenged the CVC order divesting him of his responsibilities before the Supreme Court, resulting in the Patnaik-monitored time-bound probe. Both Verma and Asthana have appeared before the CVC.

On October 26, the top court had appointed Justice Patnaik (retired) to supervise the ongoing inquiry of CVC against Verma and also set a deadline of two weeks for the vigilance body to complete the preliminary inquiry against the CBI director.

The apex court had issued 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.

Besides, it had barred Rao from taking any major policy decision but granted him liberty to perform routine tasks that are essential to keep the CBI functional.

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