SC Directs India’s Federal Investigation Bureau Chief To Face Probe Into Corruption Allegation

For the first time since The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) came into being in 1963, its chief will face investigation as directed by India’s Supreme Court. Retired  judge of the supreme Court of India  A K Patnaik  will  supervise the  probe  which must be concluded  within  two weeks. The country’s apex court has sought response from the CBI, the CVC and the Central government on CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma’s plea challenging the government’s decision to divest him of his duties and send him on leave. The apex court has also directed that interim CBI Director   M Nageshwar Rao shall not take any major policy decisions till the case is disposed off.All decisions taken by him since October 23 till date shall not be implemented, it said. All decisions taken by Rao shall be placed before the apex court in a sealed cover. Former Supreme Court judge A K Patnaik will oversee a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) probe into the allegations and counter allegations and the report has to be placed before it within two weeks. The order was issued on Friday by a SC bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi saying the CBI issue will not be prolonged. The next hearing  will be on November 12.The bench has also issued notices on the petition filed by an NGO, Common Cause, which has sought a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe against the CBI officers.CBI’s Special Director Rakesh Asthana has also been named as one of the respondents in the NGO’s petition. Verma and Asthana have made allegations of corruption against each other compelling the CVC and the Government to intervene.. During the brief hearing senior Advocate F S Nariman  appearing  for  CBI Director  Verma  advanced arguments on behalf of the CBI chief.He submitted that the CBI director was appointed with the approval of a selection panel comprising  the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India for a fixed period of two years. Nariman referred to the CVC and Centre’s orders divesting Verma of his duty. He also cited the Vineet Narain judgment to support Verma’s pleas. In the beginning, the apex court said the CVC inquiry on allegations and counter-allegations should be completed in 14 days under the supervision of this court.CVC submitted that the timeframe for inquiry was not sufficient as it has to look into several documents. It said for the time being, no monitoring by anyone else should be allowed. Verma has also sought a stay of the Centre’s order asking him to proceed on leave and giving the interim charge of his post to Rao, a 1986 batch Odisha-cadre IPS officer Meanwhile, CBI has  made it clear  that Alok Kumar Verma  continues as its  Director. He has been sent on leave by the Central Vigilance Commission pending probe into the allegations against him is completed.

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