Supreme Court judge AK Sikri on Monday said he wants the controversy related to his decision to vote for the ousting of Central Bureau of Investigation Director Alok Verma to die, PTI reported. There had been a speculation that his decision, which aligned with the government, was linked to a top post-retirement assignment that the Centre had offered him.
However, on Sunday, Sikri had refused the assignment. “See I don’t want the controversy to be dragged. I want it to die,” Sikri told the news agency at a private function organised for the release of a book about the life of former Chief Justice of India YK Sabharwal.
Sikri was a member of the selection committee tasked with deciding whether Verma would remain CBI director or not. The panel also comprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. Modi and Sikri voted in favour of sacking Verma on January 10, while Kharge voted against.
Sikri had attended the meeting after Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi recused himself. Unidentified officials close to Sikri told NDTV that he did not want to be part of the three-member selection committee, and had informed Modi and Kharge about this.
Three days later, The Print reported that the Narendra Modi government had nominated Sikri to the post of president of the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal weeks before the selection panel’s meeting. After a controversy erupted, Sikri withdrew his consent for the appointment on Sunday.
Sikri is the second most senior judge in the top court, and was expected to join the tribunal after he retired on March 6.