Decision by PM-led panel to sack Alok Verma taken in haste: Ex-judge who monitored CVC probe

A retired Supreme Court (SC) judge, who was supervising the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) inquiry into ousted Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Alok Verma’s alleged corruption charges, said there was no evidence to prove him guilty.

Justice AK Patnaik, who was asked by the Supreme Court to monitor the investigation, was not happy with the PM-led select committee’s decision to sack Verma as it was very, very hasty.

Alok Verma was sacked by the PM-led select committee within 48 hours of being reinstated to the post of CBI director by the top court. A day later, Verma refused to take charge as the DG of fire services and resigned from the Indian Police Service (IPS) in view of the decision taken against him.

In the committee meeting, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Justice AK Sikri had cited the CVC report and voted in favour of Verma’s ouster, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge had raised a crucial point: Where is the evidence? Kharge had also filed a dissent to note express his dissatisfaction.

Justice Patnaik on Saturday further clarified that none of the findings in the CVC’s report were his and that the entire inquiry was held on CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana’s complaint. Commenting on how the CBI vs CBI row unfolded this week, he was not at all pleased with the developments, especially the decision taken by the high-power select committee.

He went on to say that his sole role in the case was that of a supervisor and added that the findings of the CVC report were not his. The Supreme Court entrusted me with the responsibility of supervising, so I ensured my presence, he said.

Earlier on January 8, the Supreme Court set aside the CVC order from October 23, 2018, CVC to divest Verma of his position and functions till an inquiry. However, the select committee cited the same report sacked Verma from the post of CBI director.

Commenting on the issue, former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha said CBI has to be given independence.

“Time has come for it to be insulated from political executive. As long as the political executive continues to have control, whoever is in power, these type of things will occur,” he added.