The Supreme Court has posted on Thursday further hearing in CBI director Alok Verma’s plea against Centre’s decision to divest him of duties and sending him on leave in view of graft allegations against him. The centre on Wednesday told the apex court that the fight between two top officers of the CBI — Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana — in public exposed the premier probe agency to ridicule.
Verma and his deputy, CBI special director Rakesh Asthana, were sent on leave by the Centre after a feud between the two came out in public, with both levelling serious accusations of corruption against each other.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the centre, said it was essential for the government to step in when the two top officers of the CBI were “fighting like cats”.
“Government of India was watching with amazement as to what the top officers were doing, they were fighting like cats, “news agency PTI quoted him as saying.
“Dispute between CBI Director and Special Director was pulling down integrity and respect of the premier institution..Our main aim is to see that confidence of the public in this premiere institution (CBI) is restored,” he told the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
The apex court on Nov 29 had said it would first consider whether the government has the power to divest the CBI director of his duties under whatever circumstances or whether the selection committee headed by the Prime Minister should have been approached before moving against Verma on corruption allegations against him.
The court had taken this stand after making it clear that for now it was not going into the allegations and counter-allegations involving Verma and CBI’s No.2 officer Asthana, both of whom have been stripped of their powers and sent on leave following their bitter feud.
Verma’s two-year tenure ends on January 31. He has challenged the Centre’s decision.
(Inputs from PTI)