Central Bureau of Investigation Director Alok Kumar Verma filed his response on Monday to the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission’s preliminary probe report on corruption charges against him in a sealed cover in the Supreme Court after he was told to do so “as quickly as possible” as the scheduled Tuesday hearing on his plea would not be deferred.
Verma, who was asked to file his response to the CVC’s report in a sealed cover by Monday 1 pm, sought some more time from the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for filing his reply with the secretary general of the apex court around 12.40 pm.
“We are not shifting the date (of hearing). You file it as quickly as possible as we will have to read it,” the bench, also comprising justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, told Verma’s lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan.
“Even though we sought a little time from the court, Verma’s reply was filed with the secretary general at 1 pm,” the lawyer said.
Verma’s reply will deal with the CVC report, which was categorised into four parts by the apex court as “complimentary, very complimentary, not so complimentary and very uncomplimentary” for the CBI director.
The apex court, on November 16, had directed Verma, Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who were also supplied with the confidential report of the CVC, to maintain secrecy, saying it was needed to ensure people’s faith in the CBI as an institution.
Earlier, the apex court had said the CVC had made some “very uncomplimentary” findings in its probe on corruption allegations against Verma and wanted further investigations into some of the charges which required more time, adding that there were also some “very complimentary” conclusions.
Summing up the “exhaustive” confidential report of the CVC given to it, the court ordered that a copy of it, along with the annexure, be given to Verma in a sealed cover.
Verma had approached the apex court challenging the Centre’s decision to divest him of his duties and sending him on leave following his feud with Special CBI Director Rakesh Asthana, who has levelled corruption allegations against him.
Asthana has also been divested of his duties and sent on leave.
Pursuant to the top court’s order, the CVC’s inquiry against 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.
Besides Verma’s plea, the court is also seized of a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause, which has sought a probe by a special investigation team against CBI officers.
Besides, it had barred the interim CBI chief, Nageshwar Rao, from taking any major policy decision, but granted him liberty to perform the routine tasks that were essential to keep the CBI functional.
On November 4, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had also moved the top court contending that divesting Verma of his statutory powers and functions was “completely illegal and arbitrary”.
In an interlocutory application filed in the pending petition, Kharge, who is part of the three-member selection committee that appoints the CBI director, said “as a concerned stakeholder”, he brought to the attention of the court the “brazen and illegal actions” of the political executive in interfering with the independent functioning of the CBI director.