The Supreme Court on Monday deferred till November 16 the hearing of the Central Vigilance Commission’s preliminary inquiry into allegations of corruption against Central Bureau of Investigation Director Alok Verma, ANI reported. On October 26, the Supreme Court had given the commission two weeks to complete the inquiry and had appointed former Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik to supervise it.
A two-judge bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul was hearing Verma’s plea challenging the Centre’s decision to relieve him of his duties pending a CVC inquiry. The inquiry report was submitted to the court in a sealed cover.
Verma moved the court on October 24, hours after the government took the decision to send him and CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana on leave and named M Nageswara Rao as interim director. On October 15, the agency had named Asthana in a First Information Report in a bribery case. He was accused of accepting a Rs 2-crore bribe to scuttle an investigation into businessman Moin Qureshi, allegedly involved in multiple corruption cases. Asthana had accused Verma of trying to falsely implicate him.
Verma has been questioned by the three-member commission and has denied all allegations levelled against him by Asthana. The CBI director has claimed that the probe agency’s autonomy was being compromised as “certain investigations into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the government”.