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Indian Apex Court Reinstates CBI Chief Sent on 'Leave' by Modi Government

© Sputnik / Vladimir Fedorenko / Go to the mediabankJudge's hammer. (File)
Judge's hammer. (File) - Sputnik International
Rahul Gandhi, President of India’s main opposition party the Indian National Congress had alleged that the head of the country’s top investigating agency, the CBI, was removed from his post because he was raising questions over the Rafale fighter jet deal. The CBI plays a similar role to that of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — In a widely touted CBI versus CBI case, the Supreme Court of India has ordered the reinstatement of Alok Verma after the Narendra Modi-led Indian administration had asked him to go on compulsory leave in its midnight order served on 31 October 2018.

Alok Verma will be reinstated as the Director of CBI, the federal investigation agency in the country.

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The government order against CBI Director Verma came after there were allegations and counter-allegations of corruption between his deputy Rakesh Asthana and him resulting in an embarrassing CBI versus CBI situation. Verma approached the country's apex court to fight the government order. 

The Supreme Court in its ruling today said that only the designated select committee comprising of the PM, the Chief Justice of India and the leader of the opposition in Parliament will decide on what action if any must be taken against Alok Verma.

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The Supreme Court has directed the committee to meet within a week and decide on a future course of action against Verma. Until then the reinstated CBI head has been asked to desist from taking any policy decisions.

Alok Verma in his appeal contended that the central government had no authority to send him on forced leave. The government argued that the charges leveled against Verma needed to be independently investigated.

Reacting to the Supreme Court's verdict, opposition Congress party's spokesperson Randeep Surjewala has said that the order is a "lesson about the strength of our (Indian) democracy and the Constitution and should be a lesson that howsoever despotic one may be, the law catches up in the end".

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However, the government has still sought to defend its October order against Verma.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while reacting to the Supreme Court's verdict has said that the government will go through the court's verdict on Alok Verma's reinstatement and will then form a view on it.

Jaitley defended the government's move to send Alok Verma on leave, saying it was done in the "larger interest to maintain the credibility of the CBI". Jaitley himself is a noted Supreme Court advocate.



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