The Centre today claimed before the Supreme Court that provisions governing the CBI was strictly complied and denied allegations that services of senior IPS officer R K Dutta, who was overseeing probes in 2G and coal scams, was curtailed at CBI in a “most malafide manner”.
“The high-power committee, comprising the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition (LoP), would meet by December end to select the CBI director”, the Centre told a bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph
The response came when the bench questioned the government as to why the panel has not met so far.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, was critical of the arguments of lawyer Prashant Bhushan, representing NGO 'Common Cause', that there was malafide in shunting out Dutta from CBI.
“This is not a service matter. Dutta is not before the court. Moreover, he has been transferred to a very sensitive post in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)”, he said, adding that “the power of transfer and posting cannot be decided by a petitioner in a PIL”.
Responding to a query from the bench Rohatgi said that while curtailing the services of Dutta, the section 4 (c) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, which deals with procedure of appointment, extension and curtailment of services of senior officers in CBI, has been complied with.
He also said that Dutta, who was the senior-most officer after the CBI director, did not have requisite number of years of service left to be considered for the top post in the agency.
On the issue of appointing Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as the interim CBI Director, the Attorney General said that the high-powered committee could not meet due to various pre-occupations of the dignitaries, including the Prime Minister.
Responding to a query that as to why a junior officer was considered for the post of interim Director, Rohatgi said that it is wrong to say that Asthana does not deserve and moreover, the process to select the director has already commenced as the names have been short-listed which would be considered by the committee
Bhushan said, I am alleging malafide. Dutta, who was the senior-most officer after the CBI director and had 15 years of experience in the probe agency in dealing anti-corruption cases, has been shifted to MHA by creating a special department, related to anti-terror operations. This transfer was done two days before the retirement of CBI director, he alleged.
Read the Affidavit here.
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