NEW DELHI, Oct 26 - The Supreme Court on Friday set a two-week deadline for the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to complete its probe against CBI chief Alok Verma, who along with Special Director Rakesh Asthana was divested of duties and sent on leave following their bitter feud, and appointed a former apex court judge to monitor the inquiry.
The direction by the top court that was welcomed by both the government and the opposition Congress came amid nationwide protests outside CBI offices by Congress leaders led by party chief Rahul Gandhi against the order of the government to strip Verma of his powers and sending him on leave. The Congress demanded �reinstatement� of Verma.
Gandhi courted arrest after leading a protest of party workers outside the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters in the national capital and was taken to the nearby Lodhi Colony Police Station where he was detained for 30 minutes along with other party leaders before they were let off.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the apex court order was a �positive development�.
The court also observed that it did not want the CBI issue before the court to linger on. �This is not in the interest of the country,� it said. The internal crisis in the CBI was unprecedented in the 55-year history of the country�s premier probe agency.
The court made it clear that the supervision of the probe by a former Supreme Court judge was a �one-time exception� given the �peculiar facts� of the case and does not cast reflection on any authority of the government.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi while directing that the CVC probe into the allegations made in the August 24 note/letter of the Cabinet Secretary with regard to Verma be conducted under the supervision of Justice (retd) AK Patnaik also barred IPS officer M Nageswara Rao from taking any policy decisions or any major decision. Rao was given interim charge of looking after the duties of the CBI Director.
�We make it clear that entrustment of supervision of ongoing enquiry by the CVC to a former judge of this court is a one-time exception which has been felt necessary by this court in the peculiar facts of this case and should not be understood to be casting any reflection on any authority of the Government of India,� said the bench, also comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph. The CVC has the superintendent authority above the CBI.
It further said that a list of all the decisions taken by Rao between October 23 and today, including decisions with regard to transfer of investigations, change of investigating officer(s) etc., will be furnished to the court in a sealed cover on or before November 12 � the next date of hearing � after which it would pass appropriate orders.
Shortly after taking charge on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday earlier this week, Rao effected transfers of 13 officers with most of them being considered close to Verma.
The court made it clear that from now on Rao, who is a Joint Director of the CBI, would only perform the routine tasks that are essential to keep the CBI functional. � PTI