New Delhi, December 5: The Supreme Court on Wednesday resumed hearing of the case challenging the validity of the Centre's decision to send CBI Director Alok Verma on leave. During the hearing, Attorney-General KK Venugopal told the apex court that Alok Verma and CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana were fighting like cats, adding that the government's intervention was necessary to restore public confidence in CBI.
"The fight between Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana was becoming critical and matter of public debate. The government of India was watching with amazement as to what the top officers were doing, they were fighting like cats," KK Venugopal told the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. He added that the action taken against Verma does not amount to transfer. "If you ask who is the Director of CBI, the answer is Alok Verma," he said.
"The government’s action was necessary to restore public confidence in CBI and a situation had arisen where centre had to intervene. After careful examination of the issue, Centre was satisfied and took the decision that CBI director Alok Verma be divested of his power," the Attorney-General cited as the reason behind the government's intervention. CBI vs CBI Battle Explained: Why Alok Kumar Verma and Rakesh Asthana are at Loggerheads? How it All Started.
During the hearing, the top court asked the Attorney-General if there was any evidence that suggests Verma was going public about ongoing infighting in the CBI. Venugopal then submitted clippings of some newspaper reports to back the government's claim. He admitted the clash between Verma and Asthana was tarnishing the image of the premier investigative agency. The court will hear the matter next on December 6. Rakesh Asthana Bribery Case: CBI Arrests Officer Devender Kumar For Fabricating Statement Against Director Alok Kumar Verma.
Earlier, Verma told the Supreme Court that he was appointed for a fixed tenure of two years and cannot even be transferred. Verma and his deputy Asthana were divested of their duties on October 23 amid an unprecedented feud in the agency as the two hit out at each other over bribery accusations.