SC reinstates Alok Verma as CBI chief

CBI Chief Alok Verma leavs the Home Ministry after a meeting in New Delhi on tuesday. The CBI chief works from the North Block every Tuesdays and Thursdays. Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal 231018

Giving a big jold to Narendra Modi government, the Supreme Court today,  reinstated Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Alok Verma’s petition, cancelling the government’s October order to divest him as the chief of the probe agency. But the top court ruled that Alok Verma cannot take any major policy decisions till the selection committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviews the probe report against him and decides on his continuation.

The top court has given this selection committee, which also comprises the Chief Justice of India and leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha, one week.  In its order pronounced by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, the Apex said that it intends to maintain the independence of the CBI.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had on December 6 reserved its judgment after hearing arguments on behalf of Verma, the Centre and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The same bench delivered the judgment on Tuesday.

It said that a legislation exists and it intends to protect and insulate the office of the CBI director.  “The transfer of the director without the consent of the selection committee negates the legislative intent that is to ensure independence of CBI,” the court said.

The court also charged the selection committee, headed by the prime minister, with the task of completing a probe against Verma.  “Within a week, the selection committee, led by the PM, will meet and look into the aspect of whether Verma needs to be removed or not,” the court.

It may be recalled that in a midnight order issued on October 23, Verma was asked to go on leave, prompting him to rush to the top court challenging the administrative orders. Verma’s two-year tenure as CBI director ends on January 31.

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