• The Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated Alok Kumar Verma as director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) but restrained him from taking any major policy decision till a probe against him for alleged corruption is over.
• It set aside the government’s decision to appoint senior IPS officer M Nageswara Rao as the agency’s interim chief.
• The court did not address the case of the CBI’s second-in-command, Rakesh Asthana.
Key decisions made by the court
• The court said a committee, which appoints the CBI director and comprises the prime minister, the leader of opposition and the chief justice of India, should be convened within a week to study the Central Vigilance Commission’s (CVC) probe against Verma.
• Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the government’s decision to remove Verma and Asthana, but told reporters that it would comply with the court’s ruling.
• This action taken was perfectly bonafide as there were cross-allegations made by both the officers, and in accordance with recommendations of the CVC.
• The government felt that in the larger interest of fair and impartial investigation and credibility of CBI, the two officers must recuse themselves,” he said.
• The Centre had removed him and Asthana on October 23, saying that they were exposing the CBI to “public ridicule” by fighting like “Kilkenny cats”.
• The CBI is currently investigating several high profile cases, including a $2 billion fraud at Punjab National Bank involving fugitive diamond billionaire Nirav Modi and loan defaults by liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: CBI
Mains level: Various appointment and disputes