New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday abruptly adjourned a hearing on exiled CBI director Alok Verma’s petition, reportedly after the leak of vigilance report on corruption allegations. The documents were submitted in a sealed cover.
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi questioned how details were leaked. “None of you deserves a hearing,” Gogoi said, deferring the case.
Supreme Court adjourned the hearing on CBI Director Alok Verma's plea November 29. Alok Verma has petitioned the Supreme Court against the government’s decision to strip him of his powers and send him on compulsory leave.
Senior advocate Fali S Nariman and lawyer Gopal Shankaranarayanan, who represent Verma, mentioned the case again before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and sought hearing during the day itself.
The bench agreed to the submission and said it will accord them a hearing after finishing the day's work.
On the leak of Verma's confidential reply in the media, the bench, without divulging the name of the news portal, which allegedly carried a story on the CBI director's response, handed over to Nariman, a copy of the news report.
"It is only for you Nariman and not as a counsel for Alok Verma. We have given this to you as you are one of the most respected and senior member of the institution. Please help us," the bench also comprising justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, told Nariman.
Nariman, after going through the news report, said it was totally "unauthorised" and he was very "disturbed and shocked" with it.
The chief justice then told Nariman that Shankaranarayanan, who is also representing Verma, had on Monday mentioned the matter before the court and sought more time to file a reply on behalf of the CBI director.
"Nobody had asked him (Shankaranarayanan) to do so. It was totally unauthorised. I was never informed. Nobody asked him to mention the matter. I am very disturbed," Nariman told the bench, adding that he and his junior had worked late in the night to prepare Verma's response.
Referring to the media report, Nariman said, "This gives a new twist to the word responsible press and freedom of press", and added that the news portal and its journalists concerned be summoned by the court. "How can this come? It's a leak. I myself is shattered the way it has been done," he said.
In the last hearing on Friday, Supreme Court said Verma had not been given a clean chit in a vigilance report on corruption allegations against him. The report is "complimentary on some charges, not-so-complimentary on some charges and very uncomplimentary on some charges," the court had told the CBI chief, asking him to respond to the report in a sealed cover by Monday.
On Monday, Verma gave his response, on a day a CBI officer, Manish Kumar Sinha, came out with allegations against the agency’s number 2- Rakesh Asthana, who had accused the CBI director of taking a bribe.
(With PTI inputs)...