NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Friday clipped the wings of IPS officer M Nageswara Rao, who has been given interim charge of looking after the duties of CBI Director, by barring him from taking any “policy” or “any major decision”.
The court said all the decisions taken by Rao from October 23 till today, including on transfer of investigations and change of investigating officers, be placed before it in a sealed cover by November 12, the next date of hearing.
Rao, a 1986 batch Odisha-cadre IPS officer who is a Joint Director, was given the interim charge of looking after the duties of the CBI Director after the agency’s chief Alok Kumar Verma was divested of his duties and sent on leave by the government.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph made it clear that Rao would only perform the routine tasks that are essential to keep the CBI functional.
“M Nageshwar Rao who has been entrusted with the task of looking after the duties of the Director of the CBI by the impugned order dated October 23, 2018 of the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training, shall, as of from now, not take any policy decision(s) or any major decision(s) and will only perform the routine tasks that are essential to keep the CBI functional,” the bench said.
It added: “A list of all the decisions taken by M Nageshwar Rao between October 23, 2018 and up to this hour including decisions with regard to transfer of investigations, change of Investigating Officer(s), etc will be furnished to the court in a sealed cover on or before November 12, 2018 whereafter orders as would be appropriate will be passed by the court.”
The bench also issued notice to Rao asking him to respond to a petition filed by NGO Common Cause which has sought probe by a special investigation team against CBI officers including Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who has also been sent on leave by the government.
Besides Verma, Asthana and Rao, the court has also issued notices to the Centre, Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and CBI on the NGO’s plea.
On a separate petition filed by Verma, who has challenged the government’s order divesting him of his duties and sending him on leave, the court sought responses from the Centre and CVC.
In his plea, Verma has also sought a stay on the Centre’s order giving interim charge of his post to Rao. However, the issue of stay was not raised during the hearing.