Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 | Last Update : 08:59 PM IST

CBI chief, deputy fought like cats, Centre tells Supreme Court

AGE CORRESPONDENT WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published : Dec 6, 2018, 1:48 am IST
Updated : Dec 6, 2018, 5:39 am IST

“If the government had not done so, God only knows where and how this fight would end,” Mr Venugopal said.

CBI director Alok Verma and his deputy and special director Rakesh Asthana
 CBI director Alok Verma and his deputy and special director Rakesh Asthana

New Delhi: CBI director Alok Verma and his deputy and special director Rakesh Asthana were fighting like “kilkenny cats”, exp-osing the country’s premier investigating agen-cy to “public ridicule”, the government told the Supreme Court on Wedn-esday while justifying its decision to divest both officials of their duties.

“They were fighting like Kilkenny cats, which created an unprecedented situation. The government was watching all this with amazement till it became absolutely essential to step in,” attorney-general K.K. Venugopal told a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

The Centre’s main aim was to restore confidence of the public in the premier institution, Mr Venugopal told the bench which also comprised Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph.

“If the government had not done so, God only knows where and how this fight would end,” Mr Venugopal said.

Following a brief submission by solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the apex court posted the matter for Thursday. The court on November 29 had said that it would first consider whether the Centre had the power to divest the CBI director of his duties. Mr Verma and Mr Asthana were stripped of their powers and sent on leave following a bitter feud.

The two-year tenure of Mr Verma ends on January 31, 2019. He has challenged the Centre’s decision to divest him of his duties.

His lawyer Fali S. Nariman has argued that the government’s order had no basis as the CBI director can be removed only with the approval of a committee that also includes the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India.

But the attorney-general argued on Wednesday that the Centre is the appointing authority of the CBI director and has the power of superintendence over the agency.

The case is centered on corruption charges levelled by two top officers against each other.

Tags: alok verma, supreme court, rakesh asthana
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi