CBI director Alok Verma and CBI No. 2 Rakesh Asthana have been sent on forced leave
New Delhi: Exiled CBI director Alok Verma has not been given a clean chit for now in a vigilance report on corruption allegations against him, the Supreme Court said today. The report is "complimentary on some charges, not-so-complimentary on some charges and very uncomplimentary on some charges," the court told the CBI chief, asking him to respond to the report in a sealed cover by Monday. The case will be heard next on Tuesday.
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The Central Vigilance Commission's (CVC) report is a "mixed bag" and exhaustive, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi told the CBI chief's lawyer Fali Nariman. "Further inquiry is required into some charges as per the CVC report," he said.
"This report can be given to you in a sealed cover and you give reply in sealed cover," Chief Justice Gogoi said, adding that this was being done for the need to preserve the sanctity of the CBI and public confidence in the CBI.
The court said it would take a decision after receiving Alok Verma's response to the report of the vigilance inquiry.
The top court had asked the Central Vigilance Commission to wrap up its investigation within two weeks into allegations against Alok Verma from his deputy Rakesh Asthana.
Copies of the report will be given to the government and the Central Vigilance Commission but the court refused Mr Asthana's request for a copy.
Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana's feud set off an unprecedented rift within the country's top investigating agency. Both accused each other of corruption; the CBI filed a case against Mr Asthana, who, in turn, wrote to the cabinet secretary and the vigilance chief listing allegations against his boss.
Mr Asthana had written to the government and the vigilance chief accusing Alok Verma of taking bribe from a businessman being investigated by the CBI. The special director had also accused the CBI director of not sharing with other agencies crucial intelligence inputs against two industrialists, and missing the name of a senior railway official from the report filed in the railway hotel scam involving Lalu Yadav's family.
Alok Verma had said it was Mr Asthana who took bribe from the businessman, who wanted to be spared any CBI summons. The CBI director also launched an investigation against his deputy.
As the opposition seized on the turmoil within the CBI, the government, after consulting the vigilance chief, sent the top two investigators on compulsory leave by a late night order on October 23.
The Congress alleges that the CBI chief was shunted out because he was inclined to investigate allegations of corruption in the Rafale jet deal. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge's petition challenging Mr Verma's leave will also be heard on Tuesday.