CVC findings are very uncomplimentary on some charges, require further inquiry, says SC.
New Delhi: The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report has not given a clean chit, for now, to exiled CBI director Alok Verma facing corruption allegations, the Supreme Court said on Friday, adding that its findings are “very uncomplimentary” on some charges.
A bench, headed by the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said, “The CVC findings can be divided into categories. It is very complimentary on some charges (against Mr Verma), not so complimentary on some charges, very uncomplimentary on some charges and requires further inquiry into some charges.”
The bench, including Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph, directed the registry to provide Mr Verma’s senior advocate Fali Nariman a copy of the CVC report in a sealed envelop and asked him to file a reply by November 19.
“Once we will have your (Verma) response, we will take a decision,” the CJI said, posting the matter for further hearing on November 20. The top court was hearing Mr Verma’s plea challenging the government’s order divesting him of his duties and sending him on leave in view of allegations of corruption against him. The allegations were levelled by his deputy Rakesh Asthana, against whom the CBI has filed a graft FIR. Mr Asthana was also sent on leave by the Centre when the tussle between the two top officials escalated.
The bench also directed that the CVC report be given to attorney-general K.K. Venugopal and solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, who is representing the CVC. However, it turned down Mr Asthana’s request that he also be provided the report.
Pursuant to the top court’s order, the CVC’s inquiry against Mr Verma was conducted under the supervision of former apex court judge Justice A.K. Patnaik and the report was filed in the court on November 12.
During the hearing on Friday, the bench made it clear that the confidentiality of CVC’s report was necessary “keeping in mind the need to preserve and maintain the sanctity of the institution of the CBI and public confidence in the said institution”.
“At this stage, we are not inclined to call upon either the Union of India or any other party to submit any response/reply to the said report of the CVC and the only response the court is permitting is that of the petitioner — Alok Kumar Verma,” said the bench.
The bench told senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for NGO Common Cause which has filed a separate petition seeking a probe by special investigation team against CBI officers, to file a list of allegedly objectionable decisions of interim CBI chief M. Nageswara Rao.
“We will presume that he (Rao) has not taken any major policy decision because you have not given us list of decisions by him,” the bench told Mr Dave. Mr Rao has already filed in the court the decisions taken by him from October 23-26, the court added.
The bench said it would consider applications of Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and CBI deputy superintendent of police A.K. Bassi, who has been transferred to Port Blair, on the next date of hearing.
On November 4, Mr Kharge, who is a member of a three-member selection committee which appoints the CBI director, had moved the top court contending that divesting Mr Verma of his statutory powers and functions is “completely illegal and arbitrary”.