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Markandey Katju: Justice Sikri’s decision to remove Alok Verma as agency chief

Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju on Thursday vouched for Justice AK Sikri who voted in favour of removing Alok Verma as the director of Central Bureau of Investigation. Katju said Sikri would not have taken the decision without “strong material on record” against Verma.

On Friday, in a Facebook post, Katju cited his telephonic conversation with Sikri in response to questions being raised over why the high-power committee did not call Verma for a hearing before taking the decision to remove him as the agency’s chief.

Katju’s Facebook post says;

Once again about Justice A.K.Sikri

Yesterday I had put up a fb post about Justice A.K.Sikri, Judge, Supreme Court, who was on the 3 member committee which resolved ( by a 2-1 majority ) to remove Alok Verma from the post of Director, CBI.

Many people commented on the post asking why Alok Verma was not given a hearing by the committee before taking its decision , so I telephoned Justice Sikri this morning and asked him what he has to say about this. I also took his permission to put up this post on fb.

Justice Sikri said the following:

  1. The CVC had recorded prima facie findings of guilt on some serious charges against Verma on the material before it.
  2. The CVC had given a hearing to Verma before recording its prima facie findings
  3. In view of these serious prima facie findings of guilt, and after perusing the material on which they were based, Justice Sikri was of the opinion that until the matter was fully investigated and a final decision given about the guilt or innocence of Verma he should not remain on the post of Director, CBI but should be shifted to another post equivalent in rank
  4. Verma’s service has not been terminated, as some people believe. He has not even been suspended, but only transferred retaining his salary and perks.
  5. As regards the question of not giving a hearing to Verma, it is a settled principle that even suspension can be done without giving the accused a hearing, and suspensions pending enquiry are very common. It is only dismissal which cannot be done without a hearing.
  6. Verma has not even been suspended, far less dismissed. He has only been transferred to an equivalent post.

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