New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that the Central Vigilance Commission inquiry into exiled CBI chief Alok Verma be completed in two weeks under the supervision of an apex court judge.
The apex court also ruled that interim CBI chief M Nageswara Rao cannot take any policy decisions and will look after routine affairs only.
Alok Verma had challenged in the Supreme Court the validity of the government’s role in divesting his powers and sending him on forced administrative leave late Tuesday.
The government did so after bribery charges and counter charges flew thick between Verma and CBI deputy Rakesh Asthana, after which the CVC stepped in to probe charges against Alok Verma. The government soon sent both on leave.
Verma challenged this decision, since the CBI chief is appointed for two years by a selection panel headed by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India.
Opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge has termed the government’s move as “illegal” and “malafide” as “no one -- neither you (government) nor the CVC – enjoys the requisite authority to interfere with the Terms of Service vested in the Director”.
Here are updates from the Supreme Court:
02:55 pm: "PM Modi can run, he can hide but in the end, truth will be revealed. Removing CBI Director will not help. The PM acted against CBI Director; it was an act out of panic," Congress President Rahul Gandhi after leaving Lodhi Colony police station in Delhi.
02:34 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi inside Lodhi Colony Police Station in Delhi after being detained during protest over removal of CBI Director Alok Verma.
01:58 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi and other leaders who were protesting near CBI headquarters in Delhi have been arrested.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and other leaders of the Congress Party detained during the protests at the CBI Headquarters in Delhi: Congress pic.twitter.com/f4pt4XeHdY— ANI (@ANI) October 26, 2018
01:47 pm: "All officers of the CBI, particularly the top two officers like Caesar's wife must be beyond suspicion," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
01:33 pm: "Recent developments had eroded the credibility of CBI. CVC in the interest of fairness passed an order that till investigations are pending against two top officers of CBI, they must step aside and recuse themselves from CBI functioning till inquiry is over," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
01:32 pm: "Today Supreme Court has further strengthened the fairness criteria. They fixed a time limit and in order to ensure that highest standard of fairness are maintained even in the inquiry they have appointed a retired judge to ensure that the CVC inquiry is extremely fair," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
01:29 pm: "The current CBI controversy is an extremely positive development. Government has no interest for or against any individual. Government is interested in maintaining professionalism, image and constitutional integrity of CBI," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
01:18 pm: Congress workers detained by police during protests near CBI headquarters in Delhi.
01:13 pm: Congress workers in Telangana stage protest near CBI Office in Hyderabad against the removal of CBI Chief Alok Verma.
Telangana: Congress workers stage protest near CBI Office in Hyderabad against the removal of CBI Chief Alok Verma. pic.twitter.com/ZQmkU0UodR— ANI (@ANI) October 26, 2018
01:11 pm: Congress workers in Delhi stage protest against removal of CBI chief Alok Verma.
12:45 pm: Police used water cannon at Congress workers protesting in Chandigarh against removal of CBI Director Alok Verma.
Chandigarh: Police use water cannon at Congress workers who are protesting against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma pic.twitter.com/SXwR3AgGRq— ANI (@ANI) October 26, 2018
12:42 pm: "Congress doesn't have any people's issues to raise that is why they are taking up these non-issues. We should wait for the investigation report," Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.
12:35 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi and party leader Ashok Gehlot lead the protest march to CBI headquarters against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma.
11:44 am: Congress workers held protest outside the CBI office in Lucknow against removal of CBI Director Alok Verma.
11:41 am: Decisions taken by Rao from October 23 till date shall not be implemented, said the Supreme Court.
11:34 am: "CVC will carry on probe in 10 days under the supervision of a judge of this court. M Nageswara Rao shall perform only routine task. Change of investigating officer by CBI will be furnished in sealed cover on November 12 before SC," said CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
11: 32 am: CJI Gogoi in his order stated, "Inquiry in respect of the allegation made in the note of the Secretariat as regards the present CBI Director Alok Verma shall be completed by the CVC within a period of 2 weeks from today."
11:29 am: The CVC inquiry to be conducted under supervision of retired Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik, orders Supreme Court.
11:28 am: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said "10 days may not be enough to complete the inquiry and opposes supervision of CVC inquiry by SC judge."
11:25 am: Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Rakesh Asthana. CJI Gogoi told Rohatagi, "You file a separate writ". Rohatgi said, "I have, please keep my writ on Monday."
11:25 am: CJI Ranjan Gogoi asked Attorney General that inquiry will be conducted by sitting or former judge of Supreme Court. M Nageswara Rao will not take any policy decisions.
11:22 am: CJI Ranjan Gogoi says will examine the matter.
11:21 am: CJI Ranjan Gogoi remarks that enquiry by CVC should be completed in ten days and should be under supervision of a Supreme Court judge.
11:20 am: Fali Nariman cites to amendment to Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
11:18 am: Fali Nariman who is representing Alok Verma submits, "Present case is concerned with whether his tenure of two years could be breached at any time."
11:17 am: Senior jurist Fali Nariman who is represting CBI Director Alok Verma cited Vineet Narain judgment and the 2-year statutory protection.
11:15 am: Hearing commences in Supreme Court, Senior jurist Fali S Nariman arguing for CBI Director Alok Verma.
11:12 am: Rakesh Asthana's was filed through advocate Amit Anand Tiwari a few minutes back. Amit Anand Tiwari has been CBI's lawyer in the Supreme Court.
11:10 am: CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana moves the Supreme Court against the Centre's leave order.
11:04 am: Congress workers in Karnataka held protest outside the CBI office in Bengaluru against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma.
10:31 am: Security tightened and barricading outside CBI headquarters ahead of Congress protest against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma.
10:30 am: "It is just one more case. What is big about it? It is not as important as you think it is," Former Attorney General and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said.
10:20 am: Former Attorney General and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi leave for the Supreme Court. He will be representing CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana.
10:10 am: TMC MP Nadeem Ul Haq will join the Congress protest led by Rahul Gandhi at Central Bureau of Investigation HQ against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma.
10:06 am: CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana outside former Attorney General and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi's residence in Delhi: news agency ANI.
10:05 am: Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweets on protests:
Join us today at 11 AM as we march from Dayal Singh College on Lodhi Road to the CBI HQ, to protest the PM’s disgraceful & unconstitutional attempt to block an investigation into the Rafale scam by removing the CBI Chief. Similar protests are being held today, across India.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 26, 2018
09:55 am: Security deployed outside CBI office in Lucknow ahead of the Congress protest against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma.
Security forces deployed outside CBI office in Lucknow ahead of Congress protest against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma. pic.twitter.com/HNDL3r1ewo— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 26, 2018
09:45 am: Trinamool Congress to join the Congress party protest led by Rahul Gandhi at Central Bureau of Investigation headquarters against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma.
09:43 am: Visuals from outside CBI headquarters in Delhi.
#Delhi Trinamool Congress to join the Congress party protest led by Rahul Gandhi at Central Bureau of Investigation headquarters against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma; Visuals from outside CBI headquarters in Delhi pic.twitter.com/Q6qVFQTW6H— ANI (@ANI) October 26, 2018
09:30 am: M Nageswar Rao is only holding charge as interim director until the Central Vigilance Commission looks into the allegations and counter allegations: CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal.
09:29 am: Alok Verma continues to remain director of CBI, Asthana remains special director: CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal....