NEW DELHI, Dec 5 - CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana were fighting like “kilkenny cats”, exposing the country’s premier investigating agency to “public ridicule”, the government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday while justifying the decision to divest Verma of his duties.
Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal also told the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the government was well “within its right to intervene” and send both officers on leave by divesting them of their powers. The top law officer also asserted that “only the God knows where and how this fight between the two top officers would have ended” if the government would not have taken the action which was aimed at restoring the public faith in the CBI.
“The government was watching with amazement. The two top most officers were fighting like kilkenny cats... Dispute between the CBI Director and Special Director was pulling down integrity and respect of premier institution,” Venugopal told the bench, also comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.
The AG submitted that the two top officers, Verma and Asthana, were “fighting against each other and went public which exposed CBI to public ridicule.” Referring to media reports, he said that their public fight gave print and electronic media “a field day”. “It was the duty of the government to ensure that confidence of public in this premier institution is restored,” he said. – PTI