CBI Director Alok Verma challenges ouster in SC

CBI infighting'Absolutely essential that integrity of CBI is maintained says Arun Jaitley

He also states that he had reservations against the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as CBI Special Director in view of the cases pending against him.

It directed that interim CBI chief M Nageswara Rao shall not take any major policy decisions.

The Supreme Court's order has hit the middle ground so well that the two bitterly inimical parties have derived a degree of confidence from it. Congress president Rahul Gandhi led an opposition march in front of the CBI headquarters Friday morning, invoking the Rafale deal as the main factor behind the mess in the CBI.

The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from the CBI, the CVC and the Centre on agency Director Alok Kumar Verma's plea challenging the government's decision to divest him of his duties and send him on leave.

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Rao signed off on a series of orders overnight, which included the sealing and search of the CBI director's office in Delhi, and transfer of key officers; one officer was dispatched to Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar, which provoked allegations that he had been exiled to "kala paani".

Reacting to the order, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that Supreme Court's order is a positive move and it will ensure fairness.

Alok Verma's petition was mentioned by his advocate before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The Opposition led by Congress has said that the Modi government removed CBI director Alok Verma because he was raising questions over the irregularities in Rafale fighter jet deal.

The CVC had submitted that 10 days for the inquiry was not sufficient as it has to look into several documents. Following this M Nageshwar Rao was appointed as the interim director with immediate effect.

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If the Supreme Court puts a seal over the government's decision, the Modi ministry should cheer and heave a sigh of relief. The BJP leader, Anil Jha, while speaking to the NDTV, said that the decision to send Verma on leave was recommended by the CVC and the SC believed that the probe needed to be completed.

Long before he found himself battling corruption charges, Rakesh Asthana was the CBI's poster boy.

Retired judge A K Patnaik, who will supervise the CVC probe against CBI Director Alok Verma, was once a member of a constitution bench that is credited with giving new wings to the "caged parrot" by scrapping the need for the agency to take the government's permission for acting against senior officers.

"The prime minister acted against the CBI director as a result of panic and as a result of fear because he has helped Mr Ambani", Gandhi said as he left the police station. "The question is whether the tenure could be breached at any time?", he asked.

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