Retired Supreme Court Justice AK Patnaik, who was supervising the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) enquiry into corruption charges against former CBI Director Alok Verma, told The Indian Express that there was "no evidence of corruption" against Verma, and that the decision to sack him was "hasty."
Criticising the decision of the Narendra Modi-led selection committee to remove Verma as CBI Director, the newspaper quoted Patnaik as saying that the CVC's findings cannot alone be taken as the "final word" on the matter.
According to The Telegraph, Patnaik also said that the findings were those of the CVC and "not mine".
"Yes, I have made it clear. They are not my findings. The findings are of the CVC. I only supervised the findings. I have addressed a letter to the Supreme Court also, saying that I am making it clear they are not my findings,” Justice Patnaik told the newspaper on Friday.
Patnaik's comments come a day after Verma refused to take charge as DG Fire Service, Civil Defence and Home Guards. Verma, in a letter to the Secretary of The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), had said that he was resigning because his tenure was unfairly cut short and he was not given a chance to explain himself, before the selection panel gave the final verdict on his fate.
"Natural justice was scuttled and the entire process was turned upside down in ensuring that the undersigned is removed from the post of Director, CBI. The Selection Committee did not consider the fact that the entire CVC report is premised on charges alluded by a complainant who is presently under investigation by the CBI," Verma wrote, apparently referring to his deputy Rakesh Asthana.
"The selection committee has not provided the undersigned an opportunity to explain the details as recorded by the CVC before arriving at the decision," Verma wrote in his resignation letter.
The former CBI chief had previously said about his dismissal that he was transferred on the basis of "false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations" made by only one person who was inimical to him.
"CBI must function without external influences. I have tried to uphold the integrity of the institution while attempts were being made to destroy it. The same can be seen from the orders of the central government and the CVC dated 23 October, 2018, which were without jurisdiction and were set aside," he said.
The three member selection panel — consisting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice AK Sikri of the Supreme Court, who was nominated by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoion — Thursday transferred Verma to DG Fire Service, Civil Defence and Home Guards for the remaining 21-day period of his tenure. While, Modi and Justice Sikri agreed that Verma should not return to CBI, Kharge's was the lone dissenting note claiming that CVC report findings were based on circumstantial evidence, and therefore insufficient to oust Verma.
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Updated Date: Jan 12, 2019 09:55 AM