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CBI vs CBI: SC reserves ruling on Alok Verma's plea challenging Centre's 'forced leave' order

Both Verma and Asthana have made allegations of corruption against each other. 

CBI vs CBI: SC reserves ruling on Alok Verma's plea challenging Centre's 'forced leave' order

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on a plea filed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Verma and an NGO 'Common Cause' which challenged the Centre's recent decision to send him on a forced leave and divest him of his powers.

According to news agency ANI, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi concluded the arguments on behalf of Verma, Centre, Central Vigilance Commission and others who were party in the matter.

The court also heard the petition moved by NGO Common Cause which had sought court-monitored SIT probe into allegations of corruption against various CBI officials including Special Director Rakesh Asthana.

Earlier, during the hearing in the case, the top asked the Centre to explain why it didn't consult the selection panel before divesting Verma of his powers.

The top court bench led by the CJI questioned the process followed to send Verma on leave after his feud with CBI No. 2 Rakesh Asthana became common knowledge.

"Government has to be fair. What was the difficulty in consulting the selection committee before divesting Alok Verma of his power? Essence of every government action should be to adopt the best course," CJI Gogoi told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

He also said asked why the government could not have waited for a few more months instead of making its decision on October 23, considering that Verma's retirement date is January 31.

The CJI also said that the feud between Verma and Asthana was not an overnight development and therefore, why was the selection committee not consulted before the decision to send Verma on leave.

Attorney General KK Venugopal responded to the bench by highlighting the need for remedial steps in the face of the in-house feud in CBI.

"Two senior most officers were fighting and investigating cases against each other, instead of probing serious cases. CVC's inaction would have been a dereliction of duty. CBI Director Alok Verma was not transferred and it was an artificial argument by him that he was transferred. It was not a transfer and two officers were divested of the charges and functions."

Verma and Asthana have made allegations of corruption against each other.