CBI feud: Supreme Court order a positive step, says Centre

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The top court said that former Supreme Court judge A K Patnaik will oversee the CVC inquiry into allegations against Verma and the report has to be placed before it within two weeks, noting that the matter is of national importance and there should not be any delay.

It also said interim CBI chief M. Nageswara Rao would be restricted from taking any major policy decisions.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on October 24 that the government's decision to remove Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana was based on the CVC's recommendations.

Nariman started his arguments by referring to the apex court's 1997 Vineet Narain judgement, which relates to probe of allegations of corruption against high-ranking public officials in India, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act 2003 and amendments in the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act.

Mr Gandhi then got on to a truck in front of police barricades near the CBI headquarters in the CGO complex to prevent the protestors from reaching the building. "The opposition parties will not allow the "chowkidar" to commit the theft", Gandhi said amidst frenzied slogan shouting by party supporters.

"We make it clear that entrustment of supervision of on-going inquiry by the CVC to a former judge of this court is a one-time exception that has been felt necessary by this court in the peculiar facts of this case and should not be understood to be casting any reflection on any authority of the government of India", the order stated.

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Hearing Verma's plea challenging the government's decision to divest him of his duties and send him on leave, the court also sought a response from the CVC and the Centre.

By Friday morning, Asthana also filed a petition against the government order sending him on leave.

In a dramatic turn of event, the Delhi Police on Friday withdrew at least two of its PSOs, who had nabbed IB operatives near CBI chief Alok Verma's house, and sent them to unknown location.

- Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Rakesh Asthana. It is bypassing this Committee that the impugned orders have been passed by the CVC and the Central Government.

Following the ugly public spat, the government chose to send both Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana on leave. The BJP leaders said that since Verma and Asthana's allegations against each other were seen as a blow to the agency's reputation, it was only fit for the government to divest the two officers of their powers temporarily.

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