NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said that the decision to send Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Verma on leave was taken as per the recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission. Jaitley added that the government's aim behind taking the decision was only to protest the CBI.
"This action was taken perfectly bonafide as there were cross-allegations made by both the officers and in accordance with recommendations of CVC. The government had felt that in the larger interest of fair and impartial investigation and credibility of CBI, the two officers must recuse themselves," Jaitley said.
Jaitley's comment comes after the SC on Tuesday set aside the Centre's decision to divest Verma of his duties and reinstated him at the top post. The apex court overturned the decision to appoint M Nageswara Rao as interim chief of CBI. Verma's two-year tenure as CBI Director ends on January 31.
Verma and CBI's Special Director Rakesh Asthana had been sent on 'forced leave' in October after their feud had become public as they levelled allegations of corruption against each other.
Verma had approached the SC challenging the government's decision. Reinstating Verma, SC said that the High Power Committee will have to consider the matter afresh. It said that any further decision against Verma would be taken by the high-powered committee which selects and appoints the CBI Director.
However, Verma will not be able to take any major decisions till the Central Vigilance Commission inquiry into corruption charges against him is over.
SC said it cannot be oblivious to directions contained in Vineet Narain & Ors. v. Union of India adding that the intent of bringing these directions was to ensure complete insulation of the CBI Director. It added that the word 'transfer' cannot be given its normal meaning and has to be understood as encompassing acts affecting the functioning of the CBI Director.
The court also set aside the Centre's decision to appoint senior IPS officer M Nageswara Rao, who was the joint director, as the interim chief of the agency.
The judgment on Tuesday was penned by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. However, the CJI didn't attend the court and the judgment was pronounced by Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.