India’s top court upset over leak of confidential reply in CBI case

The Supreme Court of India, above, pulled up the lawyer of Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) ousted director Alok Verma over the leak of a confidential response to a vigilance report the plaintiff had submitted to the court in a sealed cover on Monday.

“None of you deserve a hearing,” Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi told Verma’s lawyer, Fali S Nariman, as he adjourned the corruption case which had shocked the nation by exposing deep divisions in CBI, the premier investigating agency.

The case will now be heard on Nov 29.

While adjourning the hearing, Gogoi handed over to Nariman a copy of the news report based on Verma’s leaked response. Gogoi told him the court is giving a copy of the leaked report to him as a respected member of the bar and not as Verma’s lawyer.

Nariman told Gogoi he too is disturbed and shocked by the report. The journalists of the news portal who filed and posted the report should be summoned by the court, he said.

Gogoi informed Nariman that another lawyer, Gopal Shankaranarayanan, who is also representing Verma mentioned the leak before the court on Monday and sought more time to file a reply.

Nariman said he feels shattered since the lawyer never told him about the leak and he was not authorised to divulge it. Nariman said he, along with junior lawyer, spent the whole night preparing Verma’s response to the report by Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) which is investigating corruption charges against Verma.

The infighting in CBI, which had been going on for months, peaked when Verma and his junior, Special Director Rakesh Asthana, were stripped of their responsibilities and told to go on leave on October 23.

Asthana, who faces graft allegations by his boss, alleged Verma intervened in sensitive cases and took bribe. The government asked the probe agency’s watchdog CVC to look into cases against Verma.

Gogoi also resented the publication of graft allegations against senior officers by CBI DIG, MK Sinha. He said the litigant petitions the court and goes around distributing its copies to everyone.