Day 6 Arguments: 5th December 2018

The Court is evaluating whether the Centre violated the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act when it divested CBI Director Alok Verma of his responsibilities.

 

In the previous hearing on 29th November, the Court clarified that it would first decide whether the Centre violated the DSPE Act prior to assessing the Central Vigilance Commission's (CVC) report. The Court was referring to CVC's report on its investigation into corruption allegations against CBI Director Verma, which it submitted to the Court on 12th November.

 

In today's hearing, the Court continued to hear Attorney General KK Venugopal defend the Centre's actions. Further, the Court heard Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on behalf of the CVC.

 

Attorney General KK Venugopal

AG KK Venugopal began by stating that the Government chose to take action against Director Verma not because of a specific corruption allegation, but because of the internal tussle between him and Special Director Rakesh Asthana. The fight between Verma and Asthana had been receiving considerable media attention and the Centre's decision to intervene was an attempt to preserve the credibility of the CBI.

 He reiterated that the Centre has not transferred Director Verma, citing that Verma is still receiving his benefits and salary. Further, he submitted that Verma has retained his allocated residence.

 

Next, he responded to argument put forth by the petitioners that the Centre ought to have consulted the Selection Committee prior to taking action against Director Verma. He re-emphasised that the Selection Committee is only responsible for recommending names. He stated that appointments are ultimately made by the Government.

 

Tushar Mehta

ASG Tushar Mehta appeared on behalf of the CVC. He took the Court through the scheme of the CVC Act, 2003. He stated that, as per the provisions of the Act, the CVC has a supervisory role over the agency and the CBI is to report to the CVC.

 

He submitted that the Act grants the CVC power of superintendence.  He stated that, thereby, the CVC exercises 'quasi-judicial' powers and is answerable and responsible only to Parliament and the President.

 

The Court adjourned for the day. The next hearing is tomorrow, 6th December, at 10.30 am.

(Court reporting by Disha Chaudhry)