The Supreme Court on Friday sent a notice to the Centre on a petition filed by Central Bureau of Investigation officer AK Bassi challenging a transfer order issued by interim agency chief M Nageswara Rao, reported Bar and Bench.

Deputy Superintendent of Police AK Bassi was first transferred to Port Blair in October 2018 along with 12 other CBI officials after Rao took over as interim chief. Bassi was reinstated when former CBI Director Alok Verma took over briefly in January. However, soon after Rao was appointed interim chief again, he issued a notification to nullify all transfer orders signed by Verma in the two days of his reinstatement.

Bassi and another CBI official who was transferred, MK Sinha, were investigating Verma’s deputy Rakesh Asthana, who the agency had accused of corruption. The Centre had relieved Asthana too of his duties on October 23.

Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Bassi in the top court, said the CBI official was in charge of an investigation when he was transferred out.

The Supreme Court also questioned the Centre for the delay in appointing a regular director. “Interim director cannot continue for so long. Why have you not appointed regular director?” the court asked Attorney General KK Venugopal, according to Bar and Bench. “An interim director can continue for seven or ten days but not for so long.”

Venugopal told the court that the selection committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet on Friday evening to pick a new CBI chief.

The court has also issued notices to Rao and the CBI, ANI reported. The matter will be next heard on February 6.