CJI-led bench to hear plea of exiled CBI chief today

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The fast-paced hearing on the controversy surrounding CBI before the Supreme Court on Friday went without a mention of stay sought by the premier probe agency's chief Alok Kumar Verma on the Centre's decision to divest him of powers and sending him on leave. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph asked the agency to document all decisions made by Rao since his interim appointment and submit it to the court in a sealed cover at the next hearing on November 12.

The court directed former Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik to oversee the inquiry and called it a matter of national importance.

M Nageswara Rao, who took charge as the interim chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday, can take no policy decisions following the Supreme Court's order today.

On Friday, the bench also refused to hear Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi on Mr. Asthana's challenge to the Central government order of October 23 sending him on leave- "we can not hear you on something not before us".

On the NGO's petition, the apex court also issued notices to the CBI, Centre, CVC, Verma, Asthana and Rao.

In a separate development, CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana also moved the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Centre to divest him of his duties and send him on leave.

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"The retired judge (Justice Patnaik) will supervise the CVC inquiry against Verma because of the importance of the case without casting aspersions on any constitutional or statutory authority", the apex court said.

In a letter written to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, expressing his regret at being unable to attend the launch of his book "The Paradoxical Prime Minister" on Friday evening, Kharge said that Tharoor's book "could not have come at a better time than now".

Bhushan also urged the court to tag his petition with the one filed by Verma. Asthana is said to have withstood huge political pressures during the fodder scam probe. Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman appeared for Alok Verma.

The feud between the CBI's top two - Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana - escalated with each accusing the other of corruption. He can be transferred only by the collegium of Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and Leader of Opposition.

The BJP, therefore, thought that the three-judge SC bench vindicated the Union government's stance, which thought the SC effectively allowed the CVC to finish its probe.

Mr Jailtey said, the government has no interest for or against any individual.

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