Welcoming the Supreme Court order seeking completion of a probe into allegations against top officials of CBI within two weeks, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Friday said the government has no interest for or against any individual and is keen only on maintaining institutional integrity of the investigative agency.
Jaitley said recent developments have eroded the credibility of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the “CVC, in the interest of fairness, had passed an order that till investigation or inquiry is pending against the two top officers of the CBI, they must step aside and recuse themselves from CBI’s function”.
The Supreme Court asking the Central Vigilance Commission to complete within two weeks its inquiry into corruption allegations against CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma is an “extremely positive development,” he said. “The government has no interest for or against any individual. The government is interested in only maintaining the professionalism, the image and the institutional integrity of the CBI”.
Justifying asking Verma and Rakesh Asthana, a special director at the agency, being relieved of their roles, he said this was necessary in the “larger interest of fairness because you can’t be heading an agency which is investigating into your own conduct”.
Stating that the action against Verma and Asthana came on recommendation of CVC, he said the government had given effect to that order.
“What has happened in the Supreme Court today is that the Supreme Court has further strengthened the fairness criteria. They have fixed a time limit that this must be over in two weeks which is a positive development and in order to ensure that the highest standards of fairness are maintained even in the inquiries, they have appointed a retired judge as an oversight judge to ensure that the CVC inquiry is absolutely fair,” he said.
Jaitley said that it is only an inquiry which will ensure that truth comes out.
“The truth coming out is in the larger interest of India,” he said. “All officers of CBI, particularly the top few officers, like Ceaser’s wife must be beyond suspicion, they must be above suspicion.”
The minister said the objective behind the CVC direction and the government acting on it was that the truth is established following the highest standards of fairness and the due process of law.
“And the two additional steps that the order today by the Supreme Court has ensured, that is, early disposal and oversight judge, only adds to that fairness process. And that is why the govt considers it as a very positive development,” he added.