reinstated by the Supreme Court
+ with the condition that he cannot take any major policy decision and will have to confine himself to routine functions. But there is no written law defining a “policy decision” by CBI.
A CBI director’s routine work includes receiving complaints, registration of preliminary enquiries (PEs), FIRs, supervising court trials and transfer/postings. This means, if Verma wants, he can continue with investigations into ongoing cases and even register new FIRs/PEs.
Several retired and serving officials pointed out the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, which governs CBI’s functioning, has nothing specific that refers to any particular task in CBI as “policy decision”. CBI has a policy division that deals with all matters relating to policy, procedure, organisation, vigilance and security in the agency, correspondence and liaison with ministries and implementation of special programmes for vigilance and anti-corruption, but investigation is CBI’s mandate.
Even M Nageswara Rao, the interim director of CBI, who was barred by SC from taking any policy decisions, gave permission to file FIRs, chargesheets, arrests and has even shuffled officers in the last two-and-a-half months. The latest was an FIR in the UP mining scam, in which former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is under the scanner.
“Investigations, transfers, chargesheets are the director’s routine work. These are not policy decisions. Verma can well order anyone’s questioning or arrest,” a retired CBI joint director said on the condition of anonymity.
However, it is not clear whether Verma can investigate the October 15 FIR against special director Rakesh Asthana as the Delhi HC has reserved its order on Asthana’s plea that the case against him was “fabricated”.
The agency’s legal wing was the “unnoticed casualty” since allegations and counterallegations flew thick and fast over controversies related to Verma and Asthana.
The director of prosecution — OP Verma — the senior-most law officer of CBI, retired on December 22, and the post is lying vacant. Sources said even when OP Verma was holding the charge, he wasn’t sent many files for his opinion between October and December as he was considered close to Alok Verma. In some instances, CBI sought outside legal help in the last few months, sources said.
The DoP is not only responsible for conducting CBI trials, appeals or revisions in courts but also gives his opinion on the agency’s proposals for arrests, FIRs and preliminary enquiries.