Update at 4:00 PM: Supreme Court adjourns Alok Verma’s case till December 5, Wednesday.
CJI said that the Supreme Court will decide on Wednesday if they want to get into the CVC report on Alok Verma or not.
If the Supreme Court on Wednesday decides to go into the CVC report and Alok Verma’s response to it then the central government will also be allowed to file their responses
Update at 3:47 PM: Primary concern was to protect people's faith in the CBI. It's top two officers were at serious loggerheads against each other. The public opinion was getting negative. And, hence the Govt decided to intervene in the public interest so that CBI doesn't lose confidence: AG
Update at 3:33 PM: AG says that there is no consultation required for divesting the powers of the CBI director. He also adds that divesting powers cannot be equated with a transfer. Later, he states Alok Verma enjoys all perks and privileges of being a CBI director till date. He has not been transferred or removed.
Update at 3:15 PM: AG begins the argument for the government
Update at 3:00 PM: Rajeev Dhawan alleges that there has been an immense impact on the ongoing investigations within the CBI due to the CVC order
Update at 2:50 PM: Senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan begins arguments for AK Bassi
Update at 2:27 PM: Supreme Court not to get into the allegations and counter allegations made by Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana. Supreme Court tells Kapil Sibal to stick to the law points and not talk of the allegations
Update at 2:26 PM: CJI questions on Kapil Sibal's questions - Where are these allegations? Why are you bringing in the CVC for no reason?
Update at 2:35 PM: Sibal questions in the Supreme Court: "What is left of the independence of the CBI if we allow this to happen? It’s the CBI today. It can be the CVC tomorrow or even the Election Commission. Everything will be under the government then"
Update at 2:10 PM: Kapil Sibal arguing for Mallikarjun Kharge
Sibal alleges that the CVC did not have the power to pass the order to divest Verma of his powers
CVC enjoys a superintendence over the CBI only when it comes to investigations as per the DSPE Act: Kapil Sibal
Update at 12:49 PM: Fali Nariman concludes his arguments
Update at 12:47 PM: Fali Nariman says, 'This is not a transfer of the Director. It’s much worse. They’re saying you stay there but we’re taking away all your powers.'
'This is not a transfer but isn’t it the same thing in spirit?' - Nariman
Justice KM Joseph asks Nariman: "Suppose a CBI chief is caught red-handed taking a bribe, what should be the course of action? You say the Committee has to be approached but should the person continue even for a minute?"
Update at 12:27 PM: Fali Nariman says that according to the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, the CBI Director cannot be transferred without approval from the selection committee.
'The act talks about the transfer but nothing about divestment of powers - our submission is that divestment of powers is equivalent to a transfer' - Fali Nariman
Fali Nariman says Alok Verma was appointed with proper approval. The position in law requires that he remain there for a fixed tenure chosen by the selection committee.
"Objective of the CVC order was to “clip Alok Verma’s wings” - Fali Nariman
Update at 12:19 PM: Fali Nariman speaks against MK Sinha’s Petition - says it’s unfortunate that it was published widely but there is no restraint as such on the media publishing this
'Approval of the selection committee was required to pass the order against Alok Verma' - Fali Nariman, referring to the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 and the Vineet Narain judgment regarding independence of CBI and the fixed tenure of the CBI director
Update at 12:15 PM: Fali Nariman, appearing for Alok Verma, to the bench - 'Whatever you had asked during the last hearing has nothing to do with my client.'
'There is a judgment on items that can be published about matters in court' - Fali Nariman
Update at 12:08 PM: Hearing in Alok Verma's case begins in the Supreme court
The Supreme Court, on Thursday, is scheduled to hear CBI director Alok Verma's plea challenging the government's order divesting him of his duties and sending him on leave in view of graft allegations against him.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is likely to consider the response of Verma given in a sealed cover on the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in the preliminary inquiry against him.
The bench is also likely to consider the report of acting CBI Director M Nageswara Rao also filed in a sealed cover in the court with regard to the decisions taken by him from October 23-26. Besides the plea filed by Verma, the court is also likely to hear the PIL filed by NGO Common Cause, which has sought a probe by a special investigation team against CBI officers.
On November 20, the apex court had expressed deep anguish over the purported leak of Verma's response to the CVC's findings against him as also the publication of allegations levelled by the agency's DIG Manish Kumar Sinha in his separate plea.
The court had made it clear that it would not hear any party and would confine itself to the issues red flagged by it. Miffed over the alleged leak of Verma's confidential response to the CVC's findings, the court had said it wanted to keep the CBI director's response confidential to maintain the probe agency's dignity.
While adjourning the hearing for November 29, the court had taken umbrage to various media reports based on the petition filed by Sinha levelling allegations against various top functionaries. Sinha in his plea filed on November 19, dragged the names of NSA Ajit Doval, Union minister Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary and CVC K V Chowdhury over alleged attempts to interfere in the probe against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who has been divested of his duties and sent on leave along with his boss.
The court had earlier issued notices to the Centre, CBI, CVC, Asthana, Verma and Rao asking them to respond to it by November 12. The CVC had on November 12 filed in the apex court its preliminary enquiry report. The allegations have been levelled against Verma by his deputy Asthana, against whom an FIR has been lodged by the CBI on graft charges. Asthana was also sent on leave by the Centre. The court had taken both the reports (CVC and Rao) on record on November 12.
The CVC probe against Verma was supervised by former Supreme Court judge A K Patnaik and the investigation was completed on November 10. The CVC was earlier directed by the court to conduct an inquiry into the allegations made in the August 24 note/letter of the Cabinet Secretary with regard to Verma. Asthana has also moved the apex court with a separate petition in the matter and has sought removal of Verma from the post of CBI Director. On November 4, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had moved the top court contending that divesting Verma of his statutory powers and functions is "completely illegal and arbitrary".
In an interlocutory application filed in the pending petition, Kharge, who is also a member of the three-member selection committee which appoints the CBI director, said that "as a concerned stakeholder he brings to the attention of the court the brazen and illegal actions" of the political executive in interfering with the independent functioning of the CBI director.