The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) submitted Monday its preliminary enquiry report on allegations against CBI Director Alok Verma to the Supreme Court which pulled it up for not turning over the report a day earlier.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta handed over the report in sealed covers to a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul. They took it on record and fixed November 16 for hearing the matter next.
The bench appeared unhappy over the report not being filed Sunday. Mehta said his team was late by an hour as they had to photocopy some papers etc, and could reach the Registry only by 12.30 pm. The Registry was open until 11.30 am.
“Justice (A K) Patnaik was also shown and all was ready. We wanted to file, but we came at 12.30 pm,” Mehta told the bench, admitting to the delay.
At this, CJI Gogoi said: “On a Sunday, we kept the Registry open till 11.30. How long will the Registrars wait.” Meanwhile, the CBI also placed before the court a report on decisions taken by its interim director M Nageshwar Rao.
Intervening in the tussle between Verma and his number two, Special Director Rakesh Asthana, the Department of Personnel and Training had, on October 23, divested them of their powers till further orders. The government action followed a CVC order divesting Verma of responsibilities while it looked into allegations raised in a complaint dated August 24 which the Cabinet Secretary had forwarded to the Commission on August 31.
Hearing petitions filed by Verma and NGO Common Cause challenging the government action, the Supreme Court on October 26 gave the CVC two weeks to complete the probe against the CBI Director and said it will be monitored by its retired judge, Justice A K Patnaik.
The court also ordered that Rao should perform only administrative functions and not take any policy decision. It asked the CBI to furnish a list of decisions taken by him post appointment.
Appearing for the NGO, senior advocate Dushyant Dave said Rao continued to take important decisions after his appointment.
The CJI then told him “the spirit of our order is that there should not be any major decision. If there is any violation, you can bring it to our notice”.
Dave said “what’s surprising is that they (CVC) opened their offices at 2 am on October 23 to pass orders against Alok Verma, but could not submit report (in SC) on time”.