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CBI vs CBI: Mallikarjun Kharge moves Supreme Court, challenges Alok Verma’s suspension

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Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and senior Congress Leader on Saturday moved to Supreme Court challenging Union government’s decision to withdraw all powers from CBI director Alok Verma. This has brought new twist to the already controversial case of CBI vs CBI over the past few days.

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Kharge — also a member of the high-level committee that selects the CBI director — challenged the Narendra Modi-led government’s decision to send Verma on leave on allegations of bribery in the Moin Qureshi’s money laundering case — earlier investigated by CBI Joint Director Rakesh Asthana. Along with PM Modi and CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Kharge is the third member in the selection committee of CBI director.

As per the reports, the petition is likely to be heard in the Supreme Court on 12 November. Kharge in his application had stated that though being a member of the selection committee, he was neither ‘consulted nor was I a part of any meeting or privy to any decision to divest Alok Kumar Verma of his powers as director, CBI’.

The petition reads, “It is also not in public domain that any such meeting of the statutory committee was convened.
In his application, Kharge has said that even though he is a member of the committee, he was neither “consulted nor was I a part of any meeting or privy to any decision to divest Alok Kumar Verma of his powers as director, CBI”.

“It is also not in public domain that any such meeting of the statutory committee was convened,” the petition reads. It further says, “It is therefore clear that the decision to divest Shri Alok Kumar Verma, IPS, of his powers as director, CBI was taken by the political executive in complete contravention of the provisions of the DSPE [Delhi Special Police Establishment] Act, CVC [Central Vigilance Commission] Act and the directions of this Hon’ble Court in Vineet Narain’s case.”

Kharge alleged that Verma’s ouster be “set aside to maintain the institutional sanctity and integrity of the CBI”. Also, the action by the CVC and the department of personnel and training against Verma is a direct and concerted attempt to impede the independent functioning of the CBI, added Kharge.

It is to be known that the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on October 26, had ordered the CVC to complete its investigation into the bribery and misconduct allegations against Verma in two weeks. The bench appointed former Supreme Court judge A.K. Patnaik to supervise the probe.

Among other observations made by the bench include — restraining Joint Director M. Nageshwar Rao from taking any policy decisions till the probe against Verma is underway. Rao himself is on the scanner for several allegations of irregularities and corruption.

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