The Delhi high court on Wednesday allowed Central Bureau of Investigation director Alok Kumar Verma and joint director A K Sharma to inspect in the Central Vigilance Commission's office the case file relating to FIR against the agency's special director Rakesh Asthana.
Justice Najmi Waziri also extended till December 7 its order directing the CBI to maintain status quo regarding proceedings against Asthana, who has sought quashing of the FIR against him in a bribery case.
The court permitted Verma to inspect the case file, stated to be in the custody of Central Vigilance Commission, on Thursday at 4:30 PM in the CVC's office where CBI's Superintendent of Police Satish Dagar will be present at the time of inspection.
The case files and documents have been sent to the CVC for scrutiny following the Supreme Court's order directing the vigilance body to inquire against Verma.
The high court's order came after the counsel for Verma and Sharma orally submitted that they be allowed to inspect the file to "refresh" their memories as there are allegations of mala fide against them in Asthana's petition.
Sharma has been asked to go to CVC's office to inspect the case record on Friday.
During the hearing, the court allowed the plea of Sharma's counsel that he be allowed to placed in a sealed cover certain incriminating material to maintain the sanctity of the institution.
Advocate M A Niyazi, representing Sharma, said the documents are not personal and they are also with the CBI but he just wanted to point out the sensitive material which should be looked into by the court and the agency.
The court directed that the documents given by Sharma be kept in sealed cover till further orders.
Senior advocates Amrendra Sharan and Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Asthana and CBI Deputy SP Devender Kumar respectively, said Sharma should give the material to the CBI and if reliance is placed on the documents given by him in the court, they should also be allowed to go through the material.
The court also granted a week's time to Verma to file his response to the petitions of Asthana and Kumar seeking quashing of FIR against them.
Advocate Rahul Sharma, appearing for Verma, said there are allegations of mala fide against him in Asthana's petition and he needs to rebut the averments but did not having access to the case file.
CBI's counsel Rajdipa Behura said the case file was not in the possession of the agency and they were with the CVC.
Asthana's counsel submitted that the Supreme Court had given in sealed cover the CVC's findings of the probe against Verma on corruption allegations to the CBI chief.
To this, Verma's counsel said he was not given the entire case file.
The court was hearing separate pleas of Asthana, Kumar and middleman Manoj Prasad seeking quashing of the FIR against them.
The high court on October 23 had ordered the CBI to maintain status quo on proceedings against Asthana which was further extended on October 29 till November 1.
On November 1, the interim order was extended till November 14 and then to November 28. The October 23 order had made it clear that the agency would not take any coercive step against Asthana.
On November 1, both CBI and Asthana had opposed the plea of Additional Superintendent of Police S S Gurm, who has been transferred from Delhi to Jabalpur in the wake of a feud between Verma and Asthana, to be heard in the matter.
The CBI in its reply to the pleas of Asthana and DSP Devender Kumar had said allegations against them and others show cognisable offences. Kumar is out on bail at present.
The CBI had filed the replies in response to the notice issued to it on the petitions filed by Asthana and Kumar, who was granted bail by the trial court, against the filing of the case.
The agency had said it was "handicapped" in its probe against them as the case files and documents have been sent to the CVC for scrutiny following the Supreme Court's order directing the vigilance body to inquire against Verma.
Kumar, earlier the investigating officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, was arrested on the allegations of forgery in recording the statement of businessman Sathish Babu Sana who had alleged to have paid bribe to get relief in the case.