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Supreme Court reinstates Alok Verma as CBI Chief, but with a rider

Supreme Court also questioned the government’s haste and asked why a selection committee was not consulted in the case

Tuesday January 8, 2019 11:55 AM, ummid.com News Network

SC Hearing CBI Case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India Tuesday reinstated Alok Verma as CBI Chief. The apex court however refrained Verma from taking any major policy decision untill a statutory Committee constituted under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act meets on his removal.

The Modi government had removed Alok Verma as CBI Chief in a mid-night oreder on October 23, 2018. The government had also appointed M Nageswara Rao as interim Chief of CBI. The Supreme Court of India Tuesday set aside Rao's appointment while reinstating Verma as CBI Chief.

The SC bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S K Kaul and Justice K M Joseph pronounced the verdict on two petitions, one filed by Verma and the other by NGO Common Cause, challenging the government’s decision.

During the hearing, the government argued that Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana were fighting like “Kilkenny cats,” leaving them with no choice but to send them on leave.

The court, however, said that the feud between the top aides of CBI was “not something that happened overnight to require immediate action”. It also questioned the government’s haste and asked why a selection committee was not consulted in the case.

Alok Verma had moved the Supreme Court against the Centre’s decision. Verma told the Supreme Court that the autonomy of the country's premier investigating agency is being compromised and by malintent that includes when "certain investigations into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the government".

In his petition Verma also said that Asthana "concocted evidence" against him to accuse him of corruption and that he was inevitably at odds with the opinion of majority officers in sensitive cases. Asthana, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer, is said to be close to Prime Minister Modi. Rahul Gandhi had called him as "PM Modi's blue-eyed boy".

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