Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make public the documents related to the decision to sack Alok Verma as director of the Central Bureau of Investigation “so that the public can draw its own conclusions”, the Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday.
Verma was removed as CBI director on January 10, two days after the Supreme Court reinstated him. Kharge was the only dissenting voice on the selection committee, headed by Modi, that did not support his removal. The other member was Justice AK Sikri, nominated by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
The meeting took into account an inquiry report by the Central Vigilance Commission, which levelled eight counts of charges against Verma, including corruption and dereliction of duty.
Kharge in his letter said that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government had already appeared to have made up its mind on appointing an interim CBI director and this fact was not placed before the selection committee meeting. He also questioned the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as the CBI’s interim director, claiming that his appointment was neither legal nor approved by the selection committee.
“The actions of the government in this matter indicate that it is scared of having the CBI headed by an independent director,” Kharge said. “The government should come clean by releasing the CVC report, the report of Justice [AK] Patnaik, and the minutes of the meeting held on 10 January, 2018.”
Justice Patnaik last week claimed that there was no evidence of corruption against Verma. The former Supreme Court judge, who supervised the CVC inquiry against the former CBI director, also reiterated that the findings in the report used by the selection committee were that of the CVC and not his.
“Despite my best efforts to convince the members of the committee that we should be following the due process of law and the principles of natural justice, the members chose to take a decision based on the report that now stands disowned by Justice Patnaik,” NDTV quoted Kharge as saying in his letter to Modi.
Referring to Justice Patnaik’s remarks that the government’s decision to remove Verma was “very hasty”, Kharge said all the reports should have been independently verified. “Such huge embarrassment could have been avoided if the committee had decided to independently examine the report of the CVC, the report of Justice Patnaik, the submissions of Alok Verma in his defence and draw its own conclusions before reaching a decision,” he added.