SC’s Alok Verma Order: Who Gets What Out of It?

Who is M Nageshwar Rao

"The CBI ought to be insulated from the government".

The apex court even called for a report from the CBI in sealed cover about the decisions taken by Nageshwar Rao between October 23 till today. "Chowkidar chor hai (Watchman is a thief)", he said in a brief address to a crowd of Congress workers outside the CBI headquarters in Lodhi Road area in south Delhi.

The hearing commenced with Senior Advocate Fali S. Nariman drawing the attention of the bench to the Vineet Narain dictum of the apex court, on insulating the CBI against the government, which was transformed into a Law by virtue of the CVC Act of 2003 and amendments to the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946.

Amid tight security arrangements by the police and with a large number of camerapersons jostling to record the protests, protesters moved on shouting slogans and carrying placards alleging the government of trying to "cage the CBI". Joint Director M Nageswar Rao, a 1986-batch Odisha cadre IPS officer, was appointed to look after the "duties and functions" of the director with "immediate effect" as an "interim measure".

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.

The court agreed to hear Verma's petition on Friday.

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The envelopes, only a few inches long, had typed letters and six stamps that bore no cancellation mark. Some journalists now travel to Trump rallies with security personnel, for example.

The Supreme Court's order has hit the middle ground so well that the two bitterly inimical parties have derived a degree of confidence from it. Congress president Rahul Gandhi led an opposition march in front of the CBI headquarters Friday morning, invoking the Rafale deal as the main factor behind the mess in the CBI.

Mr Gandhi has said the midnight removal of CBI chief Alok Verma was a "disgraceful and unconstitutional attempt" by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to block an investigation into the Rafale fighter jet deal.

Bhushan also urged the court to tag his petition with the one filed by Verma.

He also claimed that CBI special director Asthana, who also has been asked to go on leave, had obstructed several decisions crucial to the investigation of "highly sensitive cases" including those monitored by the Supreme Court. He said only the PM, chief justice of India and the leader of opposition can appoint and remove the CBI director.

After taking charge on Tuesday night, Rao, the new chief, overhauled the team probing allegations of corruption against Asthana. Four IB men were caught snooping on Verma hours after he was sent on long leave in what was described as a constitutional coup.

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