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It is no holds barred in the CBI v. CBI battle. Alok Verma has alleged in his petition in Supreme Court that Special Director Rakesh Asthana stymied decisions which were crucial to the investigation of certain cases.
In his petition filed today, Verma has alleged that Asthana had concocted evidence to “impugn his reputation”, whereupon an FIR was registered against the latter. After Asthana had challenged the same in Delhi High Court yesterday, a few hours later, a decision was taken by the Central government to send Verma on leave.
In his petition, Verma has stated that he is a senior member of Indian Police Service with an unblemished record and an experience of over 35 years. In light of the same, he was appointed Director of CBI in January 2017 for “a statutory two-year term”.
Verma states that there are occasions when certain investigations into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the government.
In the recent past, all the functionaries of the CBI, from Investigating Officers and Superintending Officers up to Joint Directors and Directors, have agreed on a certain course of action. But Rakesh Asthana held a different view and posed hurdles, Verma contends.
Decisions that were crucial to the progress of certain investigations were stymied by Asthana alone. Many of these concerned very sensitive cases including those monitored by the Supreme Court, the petition states.
Verma then contends that since Asthana was found to have concocted evidence to impugn the petitioner, an FIR was registered against him.
Asthana challenged the same before Delhi High Court on October 23. The same day, three “rapid fire” decisions were taken by the Central government through the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT):
– Decision under Section 8(1)(a) and (b) of the CVC Act divesting the petitioner of all his functions regarding any cases registered or to be registered;
– Similar order under Section 4(2) of the DSPE Act;
– Order appointing M Nageshwar Rao as interim Director.
Verma has submitted that the above decisions are patently illegal for the following reasons:
– Section 4 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DSPE Act), 1946 statutorily secures a two-year period of the Director’s tenure notwithstanding anything to the contrary. This is to secure independence of the CBI and this has been violated by the present order.
– Section 4A and 4B provides for a High powered committee of the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India for the purpose of appointment/transfer of CBI Director. This has been bypassed by the Centre in this case.
– The Supreme Court has stated repeatedly that the CBI ought to be insulated from the government. The present actions give serious credence to the requirement that CBI be made independent of DoPT.
The petitioner has therefore prayed for quashing the orders issued by the CVC and the DoPT.
Read the petition below.