The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday set a two-week deadline for the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to complete its probe against CBI chief Alok Verma, who along with special director Rakesh Asthana was divested of duties and sent on leave following their bitter feud, and appointed a former apex court judge to monitor the inquiry.
The direction by the top court that was welcomed by both the government and the opposition Congress came amid nationwide protests outside the CBI offices by Congress leaders led by party chief Rahul Gandhi against the order of the Government to strip Verma of his powers and sending him on leave. The Congress demanded "reinstatement" of Verma.
The court also observed it did not want the CBI issue before the court to linger on. "This is not in the interest of the country," it said. The internal crisis in the CBI was unprecedented in the 55-year history of the country's premier probe agency.
The court made it clear the supervision of the probe by a former supreme court judge was a "one-time exception" given the "peculiar facts" of the case and does not cast reflection on any authority of the government.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi while directing that the CVC probe into the allegations made in the August 24 note/letter of the cabinet secretary with regard to Verma be conducted under the supervision of Justice (retd) A K Patnaik also barred IPS officer M Nageswara Rao from taking any policy decisions or any major decision.
Rao was given interim charge of looking after the duties of the CBI director.