Furious about the laxity in the investigation into the abuse and rape of children at Bihar’s government-run shelter homes, the Supreme Court today demanded an explanation from M Nageswara Rao, the former interim chief of the CBI, of contempt.
AK Sharma – the officer supervising the sensitive case – was shifted out as part of the overnight mass transfer that followed the public feud between the agency’s former chief Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana.
The court, which wanted the officer to stay in charge of the case, held Mr Rao responsible. Pointing out that the transfer was made despite its “embargo”, the court questioned whether its directions were passed on to the appropriate authorities in charge of transfers.
Remarking that Mr Rao and Bhasuran, the prosecution in-charge, have committed contempt, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said, “You have played with our orders. God help you”.
The Chief Justice had stepped into the three-judge bench after the recent retirement of Justice Madan Lokur. His first hearing of the case left him upset when the advocate representing the state government had no satisfactory answer to his queries.
Finding out that Mr Sharma, the CBI’s joint director in charge of the anti-corruption department, has been transferred, the Chief Justice said, “How can he be transferred by the Centre when the Supreme Court said he must not be shifted?”
The agency was asked to inform the court in writing whether the panel which transfers officers, was aware of the “embargo” by 2 pm.
Later, the court said it appears that its order not to transfer Mr Sharma was not passed onto the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet. Mr Sharma was transferred along with five others, who were investigating six cases against Rakesh Asthana, days after the two top bosses of the agency were sent on leave.