- Alok Verma's plea seeking quashing of the leave order against him has bene accessed by Republic TV
- In the petition, the CBI Director has enumerated reasons why the order is 'patently illegal'
- He has mentioned 'investigation undesirable to the government', Rakesh Asthana's 'complicity' and making Police forces independent of external influence
Republic TV has accessed the petition by CBI Director Alok Verma in the Supreme Court seeking quashing of his being put on leave, which is to be heard on Friday.
The petition lists Alok Kumar Verma IPS as petitioner and the Union of India (Department of Personnel and Training) and the Central Vigilance Commission as respondents, and addresses Rakesh Asthana in its synopsis:
"The petitioner is a senior member of the Indian Police Service with an impeccable and unblemished record for over 35 years. It was due to this that the petitioner was appointed as Director of the premier investigating agency the CBI in January 2017 for a statutory two year term."
"However, as the CBI is expected to function completely independently and autonomously, there are bound to be occasions when certain investigations into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the government. Over the recent past, although all functionaries within the CBI from the Investigating Officer and the Superintending Officers up to the Joint Director and the Director have agreed on a certain course of action, the Special Director has been of a different view. The hurdles posed by this individual have not been compounded by his complicity in concocting evidence to impugn the reputation of the petitioner, which has led to a separate FIR being registered by the CBI, which has been challenged by him in the High Court of Delhi."
The petition goes on to call the CVC and government's overnight decision to divest Alok Verma of his role as CBI Director as "patently illegal", and lists the following reasons:
- The two-year period of the Director's tenure is precisely to secure the independence of the CBI but this has been violated.
- The Section 4-A of the act constitutes a high powered committee of the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and CJI. Exercise of power by the orders has been to bypass the mandate of the committee.
- As Supreme Court that the CBI ought to be insulated from the government, present actions give serious credence to the requirement that the CBI be given independence from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) which seriously hinders the independent functioning of the institution.
Over the course of the petition, the following is stated about Rakesh Asthana, the now on-leave CBI Special Director:
- After the appointment of Rakesh Asthana IPS as Special Director, CBI, despite the pendency of cases against him and the reservations in this regard expressed by the petitioner, decisions that were crucial to the progress of certain investigations were stymied by Mr Asthana alone. Many of these concerned very sensitive cases including those monitored by the Supreme Court.
- As this individual (Asthana) was also found to have concocted evidence to impugn the reputation of the petitioner, the CBI registered a case against him and the same came to be challenged by the before the Delhi HC on October 23.
It also refers to a Supreme Court judgment regarding the importance of the police force being independent from external influence:
"The supervision and control has to be such that it ensures that the Police serves the people without any regard, whatsoever, to the status and position of any person while investigating a crime or taking preventive measures."
At the end, it states the following prayer:
- To quash the order of the CVC as being without jurisdiction and in violation of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution
- To quash two orders of the DoPT as being without jurisdiction and in violation of Articles 14,19 and 21 of the Constitution.
- To pass any orders that the court may deem fit in the facts and circumstances of the case.
The petition, which will be heard by the Supreme Court on Friday, comes against the backdrop of the government heeding the CVC's recommendations and taking action on the internal war that has engulfed the CBI, by sending Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana on leave. Joint Director K Nageshwar Rao will handle the duties of the Director CBI in the interim. Meanwhile, a new team has been put in place to handle the Rakesh Asthana case, after the government decided to transfer the previous Investigating Officer, Ajay Bassi, to Port Blair. The new team that will probe the Asthana case will comprise Satish Dagar SP, Tarun Gauba DIG and V Murugesan Joint Director, among others.
Here is the complete petition: