The Leaflet

| @theleaflet_in | November 16,2018

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] three-judge bench comprising of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph today, November 16, 2018, observed that the probe report submitted by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) supervised by retired Supreme Court judge A K Patnaik has been uncomplimentary on certain charges. CJI Ranjan Gogoi categorised the CVC report as: (1) very complimentary to petitioner on some charges, (2) not complimentary to some charges, (3) not very complimentary to some charges and (4) further probe required in some charges. CJI Gogoi also informed that Justice Patnaik had said that findings in CVC report are not by him. He has just supervised the probe as directed by the Court.

After hearing the parties, the Court ordered:

“We have perused the report of the CVC. We are of the view that, at this stage, and before taking any decision thereon a copy of the report of the CVC (along with Annexures thereto) should be furnished by the Registry of this Court, in sealed cover, to the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner – Alok Kumar Verma in Writ Petition (Civil) No.1309 of 2018. We order accordingly. It will be open for the petitioner – Alok Kumar Verma in Writ Petition (Civil) No.1309 of 2018 to file his response to the said report of the CVC again in sealed cover.

The above course of action has been considered necessary by the Court keeping in mind the need to preserve and maintain the sanctity of the institution of the CBI and public confidence in the said institution. We also make it clear that the present order requiring furnishing the report of the CVC in sealed cover to the learned counsel for the petitioner is being made in the peculiar facts of the case and as a one time measure.”

The Court has also passed direction that a copy of the report (along with Annexures thereto), in sealed cover, be also furnished to the office of the Attorney General of India (K K Venugopal) and to the office of the Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta, who represents the CVC, which will be treated with utmost confidentiality.

With regard to the decision taken by CBI acting Director M Nageshwar Rao , Court has said that it considered the details of the decisions that he has taken up to the date of the order i.e. October 26, 2018. While it will be open for any party to supplement the said list, court has deferred consideration of the matter to Tuesday next i.e. November 20, 2018.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatagi appearing for CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana said that he was a complainant in the matter who reported the matter to Cabinet Secretary. CJI Gogoi retorted saying “May I ask under which law such complaint was made to the Cabinet Secretary”. Despite repeated attempt made by Rohtagi to get the report, the Court did not relent and refused to share the copy of the CVC report with Rakesh Asthana.

Senior advocate Fali S Nariman who appeared for petitioner Alok Verma said he would be filing response to CVC report by November 19, 2018.

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhawan who appeared for the CBI investigative officer A K Bassi,  raised concern with regard to the nexus between the current investigating officer and Asthana. Also, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, had raised question on the Centre’s decision of sending Verma on leave. Both the matters will be dealt by the Court on Tuesday, November 20, 2018, when the court will also take a call on the application filed by investigative officer Bassi who was probing the role of Rakesh Asthana and was later shunted out to Port Blair by the acting CBI director Rao. Bassi has challenged this transfer order.

Read the Supreme Court order.

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