Supreme Court on Friday heard a plea filed by CBI Director Alok Verma against his 'unceremonious' removal. The apex court issued notices to all the concerned parties in the case including CVC, Centre and CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana. It also ruled that the new CBI Director Nageswara Rao would not take any policy decisions till next hearing in the Supreme Court on November 12. Verma had sought stay of the Centre's order asking him to proceed on leave and giving the interim charge of his post to Joint Director M Nageswara Rao, a 1986 batch Odisha-cadre IPS officer. Verma's petition was heard by a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph. His petition came up for hearing along with another plea filed on Thursday by an NGO, 'Common Cause', which sought SIT probe into the allegations of corruption against CBI officials including special director Rakesh Asthana.
CBI vs CBI: Here's what all happened throughout the day
4:15 pm: Eight leaders and 150 workers were detained for 20 minutes and then released: DCP South Vijay Kumar on Congress protest outside CBI headquarters in Delhi.
Day before SC hears his plea, CBI says Alok Verma is still director, Rakesh Asthana special director
2:33 PM: Rahul Gandhi is inside Lodhi Colony Police Station after being reportedly detained during CBI protests.
2:17 PM: Rahul Gandhi is heading to Lodhi Colony police station in a bus with other Congress leaders and workers
2:00 PM: Congress claims Rahul Gandhi courted arrest but Delhi Police denies
1:53 PM: "The traffic was affected but it was for a short period. Lodhi road and Bhishma Pitamah Marg road have now been opened", Alok Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) said.
1:52 PM: The traffic was affected on Lodhi Road, CGO Complex, Bhishma Pitamah Marg, Sai Baba Chowk and near Dayal Singh College, traffic police said.
1:50 PM: The Congress protest demanding reinstatement of ousted CBI Director Alok Verma, who has been divested of his powers and sent on leave, threw traffic on some roads of the national capital in a tizzy as commuters faced a tough time reaching their destination.
1:42 PM: Rahul Gandhi has courted arrest after march
1:38 PM: Every institution in India being ruined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi: Rahul Gandhi.
1:37 PM: Congress will not allow 'chowkidaar' (watchman) to do 'chori' (theft): Gandhi.
1:33 PM: Recent developments had eroded the credibility of CBI. CVC in the interest of fairness passed an order that till investigations are pending against two top officers of CBI, they must step aside and recuse themselves from CBI functioning till inquiry is over: FM Arun Jaitley
1:30 PM: The process has further strengthened with the Supreme Court verdict today, says Jaitley
1:28 PM: Truth should come out immediately, and in a fair manner, says Arun Jaitley
1:27 PM: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley welcomes today's Supreme Court direction, calls it "positive"
1:18 PM: Telangana: Congress workers stage protest near CBI Office in Hyderabad against the removal of CBI Chief Alok Verma.
Telangana: Congress workers stage protest near CBI Office in Hyderabad against the removal of CBI Chief Alok Verma. pic.twitter.com/ZQmkU0UodR— ANI (@ANI) October 26, 2018
1:15 PM: Congress President Rahul Gandhi sits at a barricading outside CBI HQ in New Delhi
1:13 PM: A face off between Congress protesters and police is being witnessed outside the CBI HQ in New Delhi
1:12 PM: Police is removing protesters from the site and taking them away in buses
1:11 pm: Protesters clash with police outside CBI headquarters in Delhi
12:42 pm: Congress doesn't have any people's issues to raise that is why they are taking up these non-issues. We should wait for the investigation report, says Rajnath Singh
12:35 pm: Chandigarh: Police use water cannon at Congress workers who are protesting against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma
Chandigarh: Police use water cannon at Congress workers who are protesting against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma pic.twitter.com/SXwR3AgGRq— ANI (@ANI) October 26, 2018
12:30 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Ashok Gehlot lead the protest march to CBI HQ against the removal of CBI Chief Alok Verma.
12:29 am: Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi leads protest march from Dyal Singh College to CBI HQ against the removal of CBI Chief Alok Verma.
12:20 pm: Rahul Gandhi leads Congress protest against Alok Verma's removal outside bureau headquarters
12:09 pm: Congress holds protests across the country, Rahul Gandhi to join soon
Delhi: Congress's Anand Sharma, CPI's D Raja and Sharad Yadav outside Dyal Singh College, ahead of the protest march to CBI HQ against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma. pic.twitter.com/JhkhO3WER9— ANI (@ANI) October 26, 2018
11:40 am: Ex-SC judge A K Patnaik will oversee CVC inquiry, says apex court.
11:39 am: SC says decisions taken by Rao till date have to be placed before it in a sealed cover
11:38 am: Decisions taken by Rao from Oct 23 till date shall not be implemented, says SC, posts next date of hearing on Nov 12.
11:36 am: CJI Ranjan Gogoi states, "CVC will carry on probe in 10 days under the supervision of a judge of this court. M Nahgeshwar Rao shall perform only routine task. Change of investigating officer by CBI will be furnished in sealed cover on 12 of November before SC."
11:35 am: CJI Gogoi in his order states," inquiry in respect of the allegation made in the note of the Secretariat as regards the present CBI Director Alok Verma shall be completed by the CVC within a period of 2 weeks from today.The inquiry will be conducted by the retired SC judge AK Patnaik"
11:33 am: Nageswara Rao won't take any big decision, says Supreme Court
11:32 am: Supreme Court seeks details of all transfers made within CBI after October 23
11:30 am: SC asks CVC to complete probe within 2 weeks
11:28 am: Supreme Court issues notices to all concerned parties
11:24 am: CVC lawyer asks court for three weeks' time period for investigation
11:22 am: Solicitor General responds "probe cannot be completed within 10 days"
11:20 am: Chief Justice of India asks lawyers, 'Can probe be completed within 10 days'
11:19 am: CBI Director was appointed with approval of selection panel having PM, Leader of Opposition and CJI: Nariman to SC.
11:19 am: Nariman refers to CVC and Centre's orders divesting Verma of his duties. He also cites Vineet Narain judgment to support Verma's plea.
11:18 am: Hearing begins in Supreme Court
11:09 am: CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana moves the Supreme Court against the Centre's leave order.
11:06 am: Congress workers hold a protest outside the CBI office in Bengaluru against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma.
11:03 am: 400 Delhi police and paramilitary forces deployed today in view of security arrangements ahead of CBI case in court
11:02 am: Protesters will not be allowed within 700 metre radius of the CBI HQ
11:00 am: Barricading has been put up outside CBI HQ, police personnel also deployed to not let protesters reach the agency headquarter
10:55 am: Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph have arrived in the Supreme court
10:42 am: Alok Verma's plea to be heard by the apex court at 11:30 am today
10:35 am: It is just one more case. What is big about it? It is not as important as you think it is: Former Attorney General and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi
10:23 am: Join us today at 11 AM as we march from Dayal Singh College on Lodhi Road to the CBI HQ, to protest the PM’s disgraceful & unconstitutional attempt to block an investigation into the Rafale scam by removing the CBI Chief. Similar protests are being held today, across India, tweets Rahul Gandhi
10:15 am:The case has been listed as Item 41
10:13 am: Mukul Rohatgi meets Rakesh Asthana ahead of the hearing in Supreme Court
10:11 am: Security forces deployed outside CBI office in Lucknow ahead of Congress protest against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma.
10:07 am: TMC MP Nadeem Ul Haq will join the Congress protest led by Rahul Gandhi at Central Bureau of Investigation HQ against the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma.
10:05 am: CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana outside former Attorney General and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi's residence in Delhi.
CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana outside former Attorney General and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi's residence in Delhi. pic.twitter.com/BpHTywQA3P— ANI (@ANI) October 26, 2018
10:04 am: Road leading to Delhi's CBI Headquarter, closed for now
10:03 am: Security tightened outside CBI HQ in Delhi
10:02 am: Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta will represent CVC, while Fali Nariman is expected to appear for Alok Verma and Mukul Rohatgi for Rakesh Asthana
10:00 am: Attorney General KK Venugopal to appear for Centre during Supreme court hearing today
Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi will lead the party as it stages protests outside all CBI offices across the country on Friday, demanding reinstatement of CBI director Alok Verma, who has been sent on leave, and seeking an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "destroying" the image of the premier investigating agency. Gandhi tweeted he will lead the party's protests outside the CBI headquarters in CGO complex in the national capital. In a letter to all Congress general secretaries, state unit chiefs and legislature party leaders, AICC General Secretary Ashok Gehlot has asked them to hold demonstrations against the BJP government outside all CBI offices across the country.
1. Ahead of the hearing in the Supreme Court, the CBI on Thursday clarified Verma and Rakesh Asthana, who are locked in a bitter feud that triggered the crisis in the top agency, will remain its Director and Special Director. A statement by a CBI spokesman said that appointment of Joint Director M Nageshwar Rao to discharge the duties of the agency director was only an interim arrangement. The arrangement will continue until the Central Vigilance Commission(CVC) decides on its probe into graft allegations against the CBI's top two officers.
2. In the unprecedented shake-up in the CBI's 55-year-history, both Verma and Asthana were sent on leave. The Centre had taken the decision following a recommendation from anti-corruption watchdog CVC, which unanimously felt that Verma was creating "wilful obstruction" in functioning of the Commission which was looking into complaints of Asthana against the CBI director.
3. The CBI rubbished as false a news report that files related to several crucial cases, including that of the Rafale fighter aircraft deal, was under the consideration of Verma when he was divested of his powers by the Centre in a midnight order. “This is being manufactured by vested interests. Every file in the CBI at each level is accounted for,” he added.
4. After the mid-night drama which benched him, Verma approached the apex court contending that divestment of his powers "overnight" amounts to interference in the independence of the agency. He said as the CBI is expected to function completely independently and autonomously, there are bound to be occasions when certain investigations into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the government. Verma also contended that the Centre and the CVC's move was "patently illegal" and such interference "erodes" the independence and autonomy of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
5. A row also broke out after four men belonging to the Intelligence Bureau(IB) were picked up outside Verma's official residence. While Home Ministry officials said the four men were on "routine, covert" duties in the high security area outside Verma's 2 Janpath residence, sources said they were taken away by police and questioned.
6. The IB is entrusted with the responsibility of collecting intelligence on situations that may affect public order and internal security. Among other things, its units are "routinely" deployed in "sensitive areas", a Home Ministry official said. At times, this is done in association with local law enforcement agencies, and at other times, a surprise element is built in, he added. This also enables law enforcement agencies to respond immediately to developing situations. The officials carry their identity cards since they are on "routine duties", he explained. "This is unlike surveillance, which is done without any visible appurtenances. One unit, in the early hours of today, halted at Janpath where there was an unusual collection of people," the official said. This was with a view to check why people had collected at the location. "This is a high security zone where several protectees reside. Unfortunately, their presence was projected otherwise," another official said. Though police sources said the men were being interrogated, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Madhur Verma denied that police detained and questioned them.
7. Verma seeking an urgent hearing on his plea, which was filed on Wednesday, had said that besides sending the agency's chief and the Special CBI Director on leave, several officers probing sensitive cases have been changed. Advocate Gopal Shankarnaryanan, appearing for the CBI chief on Wednesday had sought urgent hearing and had also referred to the fact that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had taken the decision at 6 AM on Wednesday to divest Verma of his duties.
8. Verma said there was a need for an independent probe agency as there were bound to be occasions when certain investigations into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the government. He has assailed the decision of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) giving Joint Director M Nageswara Rao, the charge as head of the probe agency.
9. The Central Vigilance Commission has said it is still awaiting an action taken report from the CBI on a "secret note" carrying allegations against Rakesh Asthana which it had received during a selection committee meeting last year to consider his elevation as Special Director of the investigation agency.
10. The Delhi High Court, on Tuesday, ordered that no action can be taken against Special Director of the CBI Rakesh Asthana till October 29, the next date of hearing. However, the court clarified that there is no stay on the probe considering the nature and gravity of the case.
All you need to know about the CBI War:
The feud between Verma and Asthana escalated recently leading to registration of an FIR against Asthana and others including Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar, who is in the CBI custody in an alleged bribery case.
The FIR was lodged on a written complaint of Satish Babu Sana on October 15. It alleged that Kumar, the IO in a case, was repeatedly calling him to the CBI office to harass and compel him to pay bribe of Rs 5 crore for giving him clean chit.
Asthana and Kumar both challenged the FIR in the Delhi High Court, which on Tuesday ordered CBI to maintain status quo on the criminal proceedings against Asthana.
The Centre, the CVC and the DoPT intervened and decided to send the CBI Director and the Special Director on leave.
The plea said the decision taken "overnight" by the Centre and the CVC to divest him of his role as the head of the probe agency was "patently illegal" and such interference "erodes" the independence and autonomy of the institution.
"Over the recent past, although all functionaries within the CBI from the investigating officer and the superintending officers up to the Joint Director and the Director have agreed on a certain course of action, the Special Director has been of a different view," the plea said.
It alleged that "hurdles posed" by Asthana have now been compounded by his complicity in "concocting evidence" to impugn the reputation of Verma, leading to a separate FIR being registered by CBI which has been challenged by the special director in the Delhi High Court.
The second plea, of NGO Common Cause, has sought court-monitored SIT probe into allegations of corruption against various CBI officials, including Asthana, who was divested of his responsibilities as the agency's special director.
The bench agreed to hear the plea after lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Common Cause, said that there were wider issues of corruption affecting the probe agency and the PIL needed to be heard urgently.
The NGO has sought relief including court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into allegations of corruption against CBI officials including Asthana, who along with CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma had been divested of powers and sent on leave.