No basis for order to strip CBI Chief of powers, lawyer tells top court

Prime News, Nation, (New Delhi), November 29:-Whether exiled CBI chief Alok Verma will get his job back may be decided today as the Supreme Court hears his petition against forced leave and his response to a vigilance report on him.

The government’s order stripping him of charges had no basis, his lawyer Fali Nariman argued before Supreme Court judges. The CBI director can be removed only with the approval of a committee, he said, adding that a “government order cannot stand in the absence of permission from the committee”.

Justice KM Joseph questioned, “What if the CBI chief is caught red-handed accepting bribe?” Nariman replied: “The centre should come to court or go to the committee.”

The Supreme Court had refused to take up the case in the previous hearing on November 20, furious over leaks to the media.

The case is centred on corruption charges swapped by two bosses of the country’s top investigating agency, Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana.

“None of you deserve a hearing,” the top court had said, flagging media reports on a report that had been submitted in a sealed cover.

Alok Verma has petitioned the top court against the government’s decision to strip him of his powers and send him on compulsory leave. The Central Vigilance Commission has submitted its report on corruption allegations against him to the court.

The Supreme Court has said the CBI chief has not been given a clean chit in the vigilance report. The report is “complimentary on some charges, not-so-complimentary on some charges and very uncomplimentary on some charges,” the court has told Verma.

The CBI Director has been accused by his deputy Rakesh Asthana of taking bribe from a Hyderabad-based businessman being investigated by the agency. Verma has accused Asthana of the same crime.

As the CBI’s top two accused each other of corruption, they were both sent on forced leave and several officers investigating Asthana were transferred on the night of October 23.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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