Non-governmental organisation Common Cause on Monday moved the Supreme Court challenging the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as the interim director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, PTI reported.

The Centre had appointed Rao to the post on January 10 after a panel comprising Supreme Court judge AK Sikri, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge removed former CBI chief Alok Verma from his post.

The petition was filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, seeking that the appointment order be quashed. It also sought a direction to the Centre to appoint a regular CBI director by following the procedure laid down in Section 4A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, as amended by the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.

Bhushan had earlier claimed that the Centre’s move to remove Verma showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s desperation to stop any inquiry into the Rafale deal, the Hindustan Times reported.

On January 11, Verma resigned from service after declining to take charge as the director general of Fire Services, Civil Defence, and Home Guards. The following day, Justice AK Patnaik, the former Supreme Court judge assigned to supervise the Central Vigilance Commission inquiry against Alok Verma on corruption charges, said there is no evidence of graft against him.