CBI Director Alok Verma today (Monday, November 19) filed his reply to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report on corruption charges against him to the Supreme Court (SC).
Earlier, on a request by Verma seeking an extension of deadline for filing his reply, the apex court, making it clear that it would not adjourn its hearing in the case scheduled for Tuesday, November 20, asked him to file his reply by 4 pm today itself – a three hour extension over the earlier deadline of 1 pm.
Gopal Sankaranarayanan, who had appeared on behalf of Verma, had sought more time to file the response.
The SC bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph had given Verma time till Monday (November 19) to file a reply to the CVC inquiry that has investigated complaints made against him by his deputy, CBI special director Rakesh Asthana.
During the last hearing in the case on Nov 16, the court had said that the inquiry report was “exhaustive” with “very complimentary… not so complimentary… and very uncomplimentary” findings on some of the charges made out against Verma. It had dismissed the CVC and Centre’s objections to allow the CBI chief to get a copy of the probe report and file a counter reply to it for the bench’s perusal.
The court had asked Verma to file his response in sealed cover to the preliminary probe report of the CVC on corruption charges against the CBI director by Monday.
The court had allowed copies of the inquiry report to be given to Verma, Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta (appearing for the CVC) in a sealed cover and directed the CBI chief to file his reply “also in a sealed cover” by Monday while stating that the court will resume hearing in the case on November 20.
The CVC inquiry has investigated Verma under four broad categories and the court has already said that some of the aspects of the probe need further investigation.
The CVC’s inquiry against Verma was conducted under the supervision of former apex court judge Justice AK Patnaik and the report was filed in court on November 12. During the hearing on Friday, the bench made it clear that the confidentiality of CVC’s report was necessary “keeping in mind the need to preserve and maintain the sanctity of the institution of the CBI and public confidence in the said institution”. The court had clarified that a response to the CVC report has to be filed by Verma only.
Chief Justice Gogoi had then made it clear that the top court first wanted to establish the facts about Verma’s removal before getting into the legal aspects about his removal and the other transfers.
The Supreme Court is hearing a petition filed by Verma, challenging an October 23 government order divesting him of all responsibilities. Verma and CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana were sent on leave after differences between them came out in the open. The SC had given the CVC two weeks to probe Asthana’s allegations of corruption against Verma.