The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 20 November, expressed strong displeasure over the leak of CBI Director Alok Verma's confidential reply in the media, and adjourned the hearing in his case to 29 November.
The court was hearing Verma's plea against the government’s decision to divest him of his duties and sending him on leave.
WHAT HAPPENED IN COURT ON 20 NOVEMBER
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph handed over to senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for Verma, the copy of a report by news portal The Wire, which has published the CBI director's response.
Nariman, after going through the media report, told the bench that he was “shattered” and “shocked” on Verma’s reply being leaked in the media.
The senior lawyer said the news portal and its journalists concerned be summoned as the press should be free and responsible.
The court was also upset that one of Verma’s counsel, Gopal Sankarnarayan, appealed seeking additional time on 19 November without the authorisation of senior advocate Nariman.
WHAT THE WIRE REPORT SAID
Although it is not confirmed which news report by The Wire was referred to during the hearing, the portal has clarified in their article containing Verma’s response to the questionnaire sent by the CVC during the probe.
According to the report, Verma, in his response to the CVC, alleged that his deputy Rakesh Asthana complained against him only after the CBI booked Asthana on bribery charges.
In his reply, Verma also hinted at probable support received by Asthana and CVC commissioner KV Chowdary from a "top official” at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in going after him, The Wire reported.
HOW THE WIRE CLARIFIED
The news portal, in their clarification, said, “ This is to clarify that @thewire_in stories were on Alok Verma’s responses to questions the CVC put to him. These were not in a sealed cover and were not meant for the SC. As for his response to CVC’s final report, handed over to SC in sealed cover, we haven’t seen/reported that.”
This is to clarify that @thewire_in stories were on Alok Verma’s responses to questions the CVC put to him. These were not in a sealed cover and were not meant for the SC. As for his response to CVC’s final report, handed over to SC in sealed cover, we haven’t seen/reported that. https://t.co/ej7htVwBRJ— The Wire (@thewire_in) November 20, 2018
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
In a bid to clarify, Verma’s lawyers, Nariman and Sankarnarayan, appealed to the top court seeking another hearing. The CJI agreed to hear them after finishing the matters on the court's list.
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