Justice AK Patnaik Begins Supervising Probe Against CBI Chief Alok Verma

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The Supreme Court ruled that the probe against CBI Director AK Patnaik be completed in two weeks.

New Delhi:

Former Supreme Court Justice AK Patnaik is actively supervising a probe by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) against CBI Director Alok Verma, sources said today.

The court had ordered on Friday that the probe against Mr Verma, who faces bribery charges levelled by his deputy Rakesh Asthana, be completed in two weeks. The case will next come up before the top court on November 12, after the Diwali vacation.

"The required documents and files are being submitted to the CVC in connection with investigation against CBI Director Alok Verma as per the Supreme Court directive," ANI quoted CBI sources as saying.

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Incidentally, Justice Patnaik was a part of the same constitution bench of the Supreme Court that — in 2013 — denounced the CBI as a "caged parrot" of the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance government and took steps to strengthen its autonomy. The bench, headed by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha, had struck down a controversial section in the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act that mandated the CBI to take the government's permission before launching probes against high-ranking officials in corruption cases.

In retaliation to corruption charges levelled against him, Mr Asthana had alleged to the CVC that the CBI director took a bribe from a Hyderabad-based businessman. As infighting between the two top CBI officials escalated, the government sent both on forced leave and appointed M Nageswar Rao as the interim chief. The Supreme Court directive fixing a deadline for the probe against Mr Verma came on the basis of a petition filed by him.

The CBI director stated in his petition that the government has no right to dismiss him because he is guaranteed a fixed two-year tenure through the earlier Supreme Court ruling.

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