Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, the sole dissenting voice in the high-powered selection committee that decided to oust Alok Verma as CBI Director over corruption charges, has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make public the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and Justice A K Patnaik’s report on Verma as well as the minutes of the January 10 meeting. In a letter on Monday, Kharge has said this should be done “so the public can draw its own conclusions in this matter.”
Calling the appointment of M Nageshwar Rao as interim director of the agency “illegal”, Kharge has asked for an immediate convening of the selection committee to appoint a new CBI Director without further delay.
The selection committee is headed by Prime Minister and comprises Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India or a Justice nominated by him — Justice A K Sikri had attended the January 10 meeting.
The scathing two-page letter raises serious questions on propriety, documents placed on the record and the conduct of proceedings in the committee to ensure the ouster of Verma. Kharge said that the committee “chose to take a decision based on a report that now stands disowned by Justice Patnaik who was asked by the Supreme Court to monitor the CVC’s enquiry.”
“The removal of Alok Verma on 10th Jan 2019 was made without following either due process of law or the principles of natural justice,” Kharge writes in his two-page letter, adding that “a committee that consists of senior representatives of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary should not take a decision merely on a report prepared by an outside agency, howsoever competent without vetting that report and applying its own mind.”
On the appointment of Rao, the Congress leader says that “the Government seems to have made up its mind on appointing an Interim Director, and hence this was never placed before the selection meeting in the 10th Jan 2019 meeting. The appointment of an Interim Director is illegal and against Section 4A(1) and 4A(3) of the DSPE Act.” Rao’s appointment was also challenged in the Supreme Court on Monday by a probity NGO, Common Cause.