New Delhi, December 6: The Supreme Court has reserved its order on the plea filed by CBI Director Alok Verma and NGO common cause challenging Centre's decision to divest Verma of his powers. The apex court on Thursday came down heavily on the Narendra Modi government over the CBI vs CBI dispute calling the government's decision to divest CBI Director Alok Verma of his powers 'unfair'. While hearing the case, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, "The fight between the two senior most CBI officers did not emerge overnight, so why did government take immediate steps to divest the CBI Director Alok Verma of his powers without consulting the Selection Committee?" CBI vs CBI: Alok Verma, Rakesh Asthana Were Fighting Like Cats, AG Tells Supreme Court.
CJI Gogoi added, "Government has to be fair, what was the difficulty in consulting the selection committee before divesting Alok Verma of his power? The essence of every government action should be to adopt the best course." CBI vs CBI Battle Explained: Why Alok Kumar Verma and Rakesh Asthana are at Loggerheads? How it All Started.
The Chief Justice also asked as to why the government didn't wait for Verma's retirement which was due soon. "What prompted Government to take an overnight decision on October 23 to divest CBI director Alok Verma of his powers? When Verma was retiring in few months, why not wait for few more months and consult selection committee," the court questioned. Rakesh Asthana Bribery Case: CBI Arrests Officer Devender Kumar For Fabricating Statement Against Director Alok Kumar Verma.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court that the CVC had come to the conclusion that an "extraordinary situation had arisen and that extraordinary situations sometimes need extraordinary remedies."
Earlier on Wednesday, Attorney-General KK Venugopal told the apex court that Alok Verma and CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana were fighting like cats, adding that the government's intervention was necessary to restore public confidence in CBI.
"The fight between Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana was becoming critical and matter of public debate. The government of India was watching with amazement as to what the top officers were doing, they were fighting like cats," KK Venugopal told the bench. He added that the action taken against Verma does not amount to transfer. "If you ask who is the Director of CBI, the answer is Alok Verma," he said.