This Article is From Nov 20, 2018

"None Of You Deserve Hearing": Top Court Fumes Over Leak In CBI Case

CBI chief Alok Verma case: The documents were all submitted in a sealed cover to the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi questioned how details were leaked

CBI director Alok Verma and CBI No. 2 Rakesh Asthana have been sent on forced leave

Highlights

  • Top court adjourns hearing on Alok Verma's petition
  • Supreme Court angry over leak of vigilance report on corruption
  • "None of you deserves a hearing": Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi
New Delhi: Enraged over leaks to the media in the highly-sensitive case centred on corruption charges swapped by two bosses of the country's top investigating agency, the CBI, Supreme Court judges today said: "None of you deserve a hearing." CBI director Alok Verma's petition will be heard on November 29, the top court said, and repeated itself later. Alok Verma has petitioned the top court against the government's decision to strip him of his powers and send him on compulsory leave. Last week, the Central Vigilance Commission submitted its report on corruption allegations against him. The report, along with the CBI chief's response to it -- both submitted in a sealed cover -- are to be taken up but the court questioned how the contents were leaked and published by a news website.

Here's your 10-point cheat-sheet to this big story:

  1. As soon as the hearing began, Chief Justice Gogoi, his displeasure evident, handed some documents to Mr Verma's lawyer Fali Nariman and said, "You being a senior member, we have given this to you. Please help us. If you want to take some time and respond, please do. We will hear other cases."

  2. The papers shown to the lawyer were copies of a report carried by news website The Wire. "How did this leak come out? We don't know," Mr Nariman said. "For reasons that need not be recorded, we don't want hearing," the Chief Justice said.

  3. Mr Nariman replied that he was also disturbed. "This is unacceptable. I am also disturbed. Summon the person who did it. I worked the whole night," said the 89-year-old senior lawyer.

  4. When the hearing resumed, the Chief Justice said: "Yesterday, we refused the mentioning and we expressed that the highest degree of confidentiality will be maintained, but for some strange reason the papers were taken away and given to everyone." The judges added, "The court is not a platform. It is a place for adjudication. We intend to set it right."

  5. The judges were apparently referring to details of another petition, by CBI officer Manish Kumar Sinha, being put out across the media. Mr Sinha, one of the transferred CBI officers, came out with allegations against Mr Asthana and top government functionaries like the law secretary, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and a Minister of State.

  6. The Wire clarified that its story on the CBI director was based on his written response to the vigilance body's questionnaire, and not his submissions to the court in a sealed cover.

  7. When Mr Nariman told the court about the clarification, the Chief Justice showed articles on Mr Sinha's petition and said, "We have other documents also. Please see this also". He handed over another Wire article and said: "We wanted to keep Alok Verma's response confidential to maintain CBI's dignity."

  8. On Friday, the Supreme Court had said the CBI chief has not been given a clean chit in the vigilance report. The report is "complimentary on some charges, not-so-complimentary on some charges and very uncomplimentary on some charges," the court had told Mr Verma.

  9. The CBI director has been accused by his deputy Rakesh Asthana of taking bribe from a Hyderabad-based businessman being investigated by the agency. Mr Verma has accused Mr Asthana of the same crime.

  10. As the CBI's top two accused each other of corruption, they were both sent on forced leave and several officers investigating Mr Asthana were transferred on the night of October 23.