Mallikarjun Kharge, the Opposition member in the three-member Selection Committee led by the Prime Minister that removed Alok Verma from the post of CBI Director, said Saturday that the government did not share with the Committee the report of Justice A K Patnaik, who supervised the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) inquiry into the allegations against Verma on the orders of the Supreme Court.
Kharge said it was “wrong” on the government’s part not to have shared the report despite his asking for it. Justice Patnaik had told The Indian Express on Friday that there was “no evidence of corruption” against Verma, and “what the CVC says cannot be the final word”.
Asked for his view on Justice Patnaik’s statement, Kharge said: “My view, he has already expressed.”
The Sunday Express has learnt that Justice Patnaik’s report was also not shared with Justice A K Sikri, the nominee of the Chief Justice of India on the Selection Committee. Justice Sikri, however, declined to comment on the matter.
Kharge told The Sunday Express on Saturday: “This is the question I raised there (in the Selection Committee meeting). That whether they have recorded the proceedings or not… because the proceedings had not yet come. I told them I have not received Justice Patnaik’s report and you should give a chance to Alok Verma to apprise about the allegations made by CVC, whether they are true, false… they did not place those records before the Committee.
“Patnaik’s report was not placed. And he himself is now telling that while the report is of 50 pages… the annexures ran into 1,000 pages. They did not submit that. They have taken a hasty decision…” Kharge said.
Asked if he believed the government deliberately did not share the report, Kharge said “When we are demanding it, you can presume… what word you can use that is left to you. When I demanded particularly to know what its contents are, Verma’s response to the Supreme Court… why they have not shared I don’t know. It is wrong…”
Asked how the government had responded when he demanded that Justice Patnaik’s report be shared, Kharge said: “They said they have given (it) to the court and the court has already seen and referred in the judgment. Judgment mein refer karna alag hai (Referring in the judgment is a different matter)… They did not submit the report… and they did not call him (Verma) to the committee…”
Verma, Kharge said, “can’t be transferred because it is a selected post for a particular purpose, which is the CBI. How can he be transferred? There are no other posts in the Delhi Special Police Act. It is not written in the Act if they want to transfer or remove… they can do on an equivalent post. He was selected for a particular purpose… How can they transfer him, it is already a superannuation post. He has already completed his age.
“And then they did not hold a meeting to post an interim Director… Suo motu… again administrative decision they have taken,” he said.
Kharge said the decision to appoint an interim CBI Director was not discussed in the Committee.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said Saturday that after Justice Patnaik’s remarks, the government’s situation was “not a cupboard full of skeletons, it is only skeletons, there is no cupboard”. The Congress demanded that a meeting of the high-powered Committee must be reconvened immediately.
“Alok Verma must be reappointed till the high-powered Committee fully investigates and inquires into the allegations as the Committee has not done it. Justice Patnaik says they could not have done it; it is humanly impossible to do it. They are not a rubber stamping agency, they are the high-powered Committee.”