On Friday, the Supreme Court clipped the wings of IPS officer Mannem Nageswara Rao. He has been given interim charge of looking after duties of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director by barring him from taking any ‘policy’ or ‘any major decision’.
The SC said that all the decisions taken by Rao from October 23 till Friday, including transfer of investigations and change of investigating officers, would have to be placed before it in a sealed cover by November 12, the next date of hearing.
A bench comprising of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul and K M Joseph made it clear that Rao would only perform the routine tasks, which are essential to keep the CBI functional.
The Bench stated, “M Nageswara 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 from now not take any policy decisions or any major decisions and will only perform the task that are essential to keep the CBI functional.
The Justice 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.
Beside 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 filled by Verma, who has challenged the government’s order divesting him of his duties and sending him on leave, the SC sought responses from the Centre and CVC.
Verma, in his plea, has also sought a stay on the Center’s order giving interim charge of his post to Rao. However, the issue of stay was not raised during the hearing.