Alok Verma not "terminated": Markandey Katju reveals Justice Sikri's role
Markandey Katju, former judge of Supreme Court, wrote a post on social media on Friday explaining the role of Justice AK Sikri in the unceremonial exit of CBI Director Alok Verma. A select panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and including Justice Sikri as well as Mallikarjun Kharge took the decision on Thursday. As the controversial sacking garnered attention, Justice Sikri was questioned.
It should be noted Justice Sikri was appointed in the high-powered committee by CJI Ranjan Gogoi. Since PM Modi's government divested Verma of his powers in October 2018 and Kharge seemed bent to oppose the Centre, the veto power lied with Justice Sikri. He voted in favor of Verma's ouster. To understand Justice Sikri's stand, Katju reportedly called him up.
Katju wrote he took Justice Sikri's permission before putting out details of their conversation. Justice Sikri informed that CVC found Verma guilty on some charges. Before recording its prima facie findings, CVC had given a hearing to Verma, Katju revealed in the post. After going through CVC findings, Justice Sikri opined that until matter's investigation reaches conclusion, Verma should be transferred to another post.
"Justice Sikri was of opinion that until matter was fully investigated and a final decision given about the guilt or innocence of Verma he should not remain on the post of Director, CBI but should be shifted to another post equivalent in rank," Katju wrote.
Further, Katju said Verma has neither been terminated from his services nor has he been suspended. He has been transferred to an equivalent post and will retain his salary and perks, Katju wrote. About allegations that Verma wasn't given a chance, Katju wrote, "It is a settled principle that even suspension can be done without giving the accused a hearing."
Katju added people can be suspended pending inquiry, but can't be dismissed. "Verma has not even been suspended, far less dismissed. He has only been transferred to an equivalent post," he revealed. On Twitter, the former judge slammed media and asked why was Justice Sikri not contacted by anyone. "I think most Indian media is fake news," he tweeted.
I spoke to Justice Sikri this morning and asked him what he has to say about removal of Alok Verma.— Markandey Katju (@mkatju) January 11, 2019
Justice Sikri said the following: pic.twitter.com/cYEFZ4GBff
Meanwhile, Verma spoke about his ouster and claimed he was removed on frivolous grounds. He added the CBI was under attack. Verma has said that he was ousted on the basis of "false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations made by only one person", who was "inimical" to him. While Verma didn't take names, he was obviously referring to Rakesh Asthana, his deputy at the agency.