SC order on CBI chief no setback, government will comply: Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday said the Supreme Court verdict on CBI Director Alok Verma’s reinstatement was not a “setback” to it and it will comply with the order asking it to convene a meeting of the special committee within a week to look at the issue afresh.

Talking to reporters, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the court apparently has strengthened the immunity given to the CBI Director in the larger interest of fair and impartial functioning of the CBI. At the same time, the court has devised and accountability mechanism which is in accordance with the norms of fair play, he said.

“And, therefore, in accordance with the directions of the court… obviously they will be complied with and the government will act in the same manner,” he said.

Jaitley, himself an eminent lawyer, said the government had taken the decision to send Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana on leave in accordance with the recommendations of the CVC in the larger interest of fair and impartial investigation and larger credibility of the investigating agency.

The Minister said the action was taken “perfectly bona fide” because there were allegations and counter allegations made by both the officers.

“And in accordance with the recommendation of the CVC, the government had felt that in the larger interest of fair and impartial investigation and larger credibility of the CBI as an institution the two officers must recuse themselves with the CVC formulation in the form of asking them to go on leave,” he said.

The Minister said that in the Delhi Police Special Establishment Act, which deals with the functioning of the CBI, there are two separate provisions.

“One provision is, of course, very clear that in the matter related to the appointment, removal or transfer of the CBI Director, it can only be done by a special committee comprising Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition. There is another provision that in cases of corruption, the power of the superintendence over CBI is to be exercised by the CVC.

“The CVC has exercised that power by making that recommendation under that power of superintendence,” Jaitley said, adding that he has not read the judgement of the Supreme Court.

“The government has been directed to convene a meeting,” Jaitley said.

Asked whether the court verdict was a setback for the government, he replied, “I don’t go by the words that it is a setback. It’s an ongoing subject, it has not ended today. It is a legal matter and the legal matters should go till the end so that who is right or wrong is proved.

“And the government has said earlier that this was not a person-specific stand and that it wanted the institution’s impartiality and credibility to be maintained. And when the two senior officials were making allegations and counter allegations against each other, the government with full honesty accepted the recommendation of the CVC, which today the Supreme Court judgement has reinterpreted.”

Asked about the government stand on the issue, he said the government had no stand.

“The CVC is itself an independent organisation the CVC has come to a particular finding and that finding is already before the Supreme Court,” he said, adding there is a judgement of the Supreme Court and wanted to know why the media should speculate.