The Supreme Court on Friday i.e., November 16, 2018, in the case of Alok Kumar Verma v. Union of India & Anr., has directed its registry to furnish a copy of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report to CBI Director Alok Verma in a sealed cover.
A Bench comprising of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice K.M. Joseph also said that it will be open to Mr. Verma to submit his response on the report, through his counsel.
To which, Advocate Fali S. Nariman, counsel for Mr. Verma, said that the response will be submitted by 1:00 PM on Monday i.e., November 19, 2018.
The court also directed that the copy of the report must be provided to the offices of Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in a sealed cover.
“The above course of action has been considered necessary by the Court keeping in mind the need to preserve and maintain the sanctity of the institution of the CBI and public confidence in the said institution,” the court said.
Categorisation of CVC’s findings
The Apex Court divided the CVC’s findings into four categories. It said that the report is very complimentary on some charges and not so complimentary on some. On some charges it is very uncomplimentary and on others it requires further inquiry.
Not inclined to call responses from any other party
The court declining to call responses from the centre on CVC’s report said that, “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.”
No major decisions by acting CBI Director
In the previous hearing, the NGO Common Cause had accused acting CBI Director M. Nageshwar Rao of taking major decisions in violation of Supreme Court’s order passed on October 26, 2018, restraining him to do so.
To reinforce the claims, the court had directed the NGO to file the list of decisions taken by Mr. Rao after its October 26, 2018, order.
Advocate Dushyant Dave, representing the NGO said that “we could not file the list” when asked by the CJI.
The court saying that it will be open for any party to supplement the said list, deferred the matter for next hearing.
Refusal to share the report with CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana
Senior Counsel Mukul Rohatgi, for CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, prayed that a copy of the report be shared with him, to which the court declined.
Emphasizing that it was his complaint that lead to the inquiry and hence he was entitled to the report, Rohatgi said that, “originally, the report was only called for in sealed cover. Now some response is being asked for. It is a matter of the security of the nation. It is my complaint which leads to this report. I have a case pending in the High Court for the quashing of the FIR lodged against him on the bribery allegations. I need to have a copy of the report.”
It must be noted that Rakesh Asthana is currently under investigation for charges of corruption.
Nexus between the current investigating officer and Asthana
Senior Counsel Rajiv Dhawan, on behalf of CBI DSP Ajay Kumar Bassi, said that he is concerned with the nexus between the current investigating officer and Rakesh Asthana.
His allegation came in reference with the transfer of Mr. Bassi, who had probed Mr. Asthana before being transferred to the Andamans shortly after Mr. Verma was removed as CBI Director on October 23, 2018.
The court has listed the matter for further hearing on November 20, 2018.