The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to intervene in the appointment of Nageswara Rao as the interim director of CBI after the then director Alok Verma was sent on forced leave by the government. The appointment accounted from January 11 to February 1. The Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by a non- profit group Common Cause concerned with the legality and transparency in appointing CBI director.
The petition had challenged the appointment saying it was done without the approval of the high powered committee headed by the Prime Minister. The Centre told the court that Mr Rao’s appointment as interim director had the approval of the PM-led panel.
A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran said that no further interference is required as the relief has already been granted with the appointment of a full time CBI Director.
In an earlier hearing on February 1, the top court had said that it was “averse” to the appointment of an interim CBI director and the Centre should “immediately” appoint a regular chief of the central probe agency. The court was upset that the agency was not functioning properly and the officers were levelling corruption allegations against each other which was totally unbecoming.
Mr Rao, one of the top officers of the CBI, had faced the ire of the Supreme Court, which had found him guilty of contempt for ordering the transfer of an officer investigating the sexual abuse of children at Bihar’s government-run shelter homes.
“It’s not an error. It’s wilfull disobedience,” a livid Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had said. Rejecting Mr Rao’s apology, the judges fined him Rs 1 lakh fine and asked him to sit in the corner of the court till it rises for the day. “We can send you to jail for up to 30 days,” the court had said before accepting the Attorney General’s request for lenience.