NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday nominated the second senior most judge AK Sikri as his representation in the Selection Committee which will decide the fate of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Verma. The high-powered committee is likely to meet later on Wednesday.
The selection panel also includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. The CJI reportedly recused himself from the meeting since he was part of the bench which authored the Supreme Court judgment to reinstate Verma as CBI chief on Tuesday.
Justice Sikri will have a huge role to play in the final decision as Kharge had vehemently opposed the government when Verma was sent on leave in October 2018. Kharge had demanded answers from the Prime Minister stating that the decision was made without consulting other members of the panel that selected him. Kharge was part of the three-member panel headed by Modi that had selected Verma as CBI chief. The then Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar was the other member of the selection committee.
In a strongly-worded letter to the Prime Minister, Kharge had accused him of acting "arbitrarily" and creating a "false equivalence of charges" between the CBI Director and his deputy Rakesh Asthana.
The decision went into the selection committee's court after the SC on Tuesday reinstated Verma as CBI chief ending his 77-day-long 'forced leave'.
In sending Verma on leave, the government had overlooked the immunity given to the CBI director by the Supreme Court ensuring a two-year minimum tenure to protect the incumbent from any political interference.
Defending the decision, the government had maintained that it was trying to protect the CBI and that it had become necessary to take the call due to the unprecedented feud between the two senior-most officials of the agency.