In a sudden development, the Supreme Court Tuesday agreed to hear CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma’s plea challenging the government’s decision to divest him of duties and sending him on leave, minutes after adjourning the case to November 29.
Earlier in the day, the alleged leak of Verma’s confidential response to the Central Vigilance Commission’s findings on corruption charges against him irked the top court, which said none of “you deserve any hearing”.
Senior advocate Fali S Nariman and lawyer Gopal Shankaranarayanan, who represent Verma, mentioned the case again before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and sought hearing during the day itself.
The bench agreed to the submission and said it will accord them a hearing after finishing the day’s work.
On the leak of Verma’s confidential reply in the media, the bench, without divulging the name of the news portal, which allegedly carried a story on the CBI director’s response, handed over to Nariman, a copy of the news report.
“It is only for you Mr Nariman and not as a counsel for Alok Verma. We have given this to you as you are one of the most respected and senior member of the institution. Please help us,” the bench also comprising justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, told Nariman.
Nariman, after going through the news report, said it was totally “unauthorised” and he was very “disturbed and shocked” with it.
The Chief Justice then told Nariman that Shankaranarayanan, who is also representing Verma, had on Monday mentioned the matter before the court and sought more time to file a reply on behalf of the CBI director.
“Nobody had asked him(Shankaranarayanan) to do so. It was totally unathorised. I was never informed. Nobody asked him to mention the matter. I am very disturbed,” Nariman told the bench, adding that he and his junior had worked late in the night to prepare Verma’s response.
Referring to the media report, Nariman said,”This gives a new twist to the word responsible press and freedom of press”, and added that the news portal and its journalists concerned be summoned by the court.
“How can this come? It’s a leak. I myself is shattered the way it has been done,” he said.
The CJI then adjourned the hearing to November 29 and said the bench does not want to record any reasons for it.
At the fag end of the hearing, the bench observed,”We don’t think any of you deserve any hearing”.
The court was hearing Verma’s plea against govt’s decision to divest him of duties and sending him on leave.