Justice A.K. Sikri
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has nominated Justice A.K. Sikri, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court after him, to be part of the high-powered selection committee which will decide the fate of CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma.The apex court sources said that Justice Sikri will be a part of the committee also comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.The selection committee comprises the Prime Minister, the CJI and the leader of the single largest Opposition party.Since the CJI was a part of the Bench and author of the Tuesday’s verdict which reinstated Mr. Verma as the CBI Director, he opted himself out of the panel’s meeting which was ordered to be convened within a week.Mr. Verma’s two-year tenure as CBI director ends on January 31.Report quoting officials suggested that the committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday.The apex court had on January 8 allowed Mr. Verma to come back as CBI Director, albeit with his wings clipped, giving a jolt to the Centre and the CVC by setting aside their orders divesting him of his powers and sending him on leave.However, the sword “of divestment of power and authority” of Mr. Verma is still hanging on his head as the court had said it was “still open” for the high-powered committee, which selects the CBI chief, to consider the matter within a week since the CVC is probing the charges of corruption against him.In pursuance of the court’s directive, authorities have decided to convene the meeting of the selection panel on Wednesday.The top court, in its verdict, had also made it clear that on reinstatement, Mr. Verma will cease and desist from taking any major policy decisions till the committee’s decision.It had set aside the October 23, 2018 orders of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) divesting Mr. Verma of his powers and asking CBI’s Joint Director M. Nageshwar Rao to look after the duties and functions of the agency’s Director.The entire issue of Mr. Verma revolved around his feud with CBI’s Special Director Rakesh Asthana as both of them have levelled charges of corruption against each other.While Mr. Verma had moved the apex court against the government’s orders, Mr. Asthana has not challenged the order divesting him of his duties and sending him on leave in the top court but has moved the Delhi High Court for quashing of FIR against him in a corruption case. Like Mr. Verma, Mr. Asthana was also divested of his powers and was send on leave by the government.