Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has nominated Justice AK Sikri to take his place on the high-power panel that will consider Central Bureau of Investigation Director Alok Verma’s case on Wednesday, Live Law reported. The meeting is likely to be held at 8 pm, according to The Indian Express.
Sikri is the most senior judge in the top court after Gogoi. The Centre began efforts to convene the panel – which also comprises Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge – soon after the Supreme Court quashed its decision on Verma.
Gogoi’s decision came a day after the top court quashed the Centre’s decision to divest Verma of his responsibilities. Verma cannot take major policy decisions till the panel rules on the case within a week.
In his order, Gogoi said that he was recusing himself from the panel since he was part of the three-judge bench that had heard the CBI director’s plea in the top court, The Times of India reported. Sikri is likely to have the deciding vote as Modi is bound to back his government’s decision, while Kharge will most likely oppose the government’s position on the matter.
Meanwhile, Verma – who is set to retire on January 31 – was back in office on Monday for the first time since October 23, when he was sent on leave by the government. The CBI director is likely to rescind the transfer orders of some of the officers close to him since transfers are considered to be administrative decisions and not policy ones, the Hindustan Times reported.
The transfers were ordered by interim Director M Nageswara Rao on October 24. Rao had transferred 13 officials, including the agency’s Joint Director (Policy) AK Sharma, Deputy Inspectors General MK Sinha, Anish Prasad, KR Chaurasia, Tarun Gauba, Additional Superintendent of Police SS Gurm and Deputy Superintendent of Police AK Bassi.
Bassi and Sinha were investigating CBI Special Director and Verma’s deputy Rakesh Asthana, who the agency has accused of corruption.