A petition challenging M Nageswara Rao's appointment as the interim chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to be heard by the Supreme Court next week.
Mr Rao took over the top job last Friday after Alok Verma was sacked as the chief the agency by a high-powered panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr Rao promptly reversed all decisions taken in the previous two days by his then boss. He has also started the process of making structural changes in the CBI to streamline the workload on various zones of the agency across the country, officials said.
An NGO had filed a petition on Monday through advocate Prashant Bhushan, seeking a direction to cancel the government's order appointing Mr Rao as the acting director of the agency. Common Cause, that filed the petition, said it was "illegal, arbitrary, mala fide and in violation of the Delhi Police Special Establishment (DPSE) Act". The matter was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
Nageswara Rao, a 1986-batch Odisha cadre IPS officer, first took charge as interim chief under dramatic circumstances on October 23, around 2 am, after Mr Verma was divested of his powers and sent away.
The NGO also sought a direction to the government to appoint a regular director of the CBI as per the rules.
Soon after Mr Rao took charge of the CBI last week, every decision made by Mr Verma was cancelled, sources said. Mr Verma, after returning to work, had reversed many transfers ordered by Mr Rao, mostly of members in his team, and also ordered the transfer of five officers.
Alok Verma was removed just two days after the Supreme Court reinstated him as the CBI chief. Congress's Mallikarjun Kharge, who was part of the PM-led panel and represented the opposition, put up a dissenting note saying that the vigilance inquiry had not found evidence that Mr Verma was guilty of bribery.
After his removal, Mr Verma was transferred as chief of fire services. He, however, refused to take up the new job and submitted his resignation.