By Sumit Kumar Singh
New Delhi, Oct 27 : Ajay Kumar Bassi, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer manipulated a Supreme Court judgment, even “rephrased a few word” to get his transfer to Port Blair cancelled and the agency’s former chief Alok Kumar Verma without verifying acted on it in haste, further complicating the situation, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) observed.
Bassi had approached the tribunal against his transfer order to Port Blair on October 24, 2018. He stated that he was transferred out of CBI and then on January 9, 2019, the order of transfer was withdrawn. He again contented that another order was passed on January 10, 2019 declaring the order dated January 9, 2019, as non-est.
Taking serious exception to the conduct of the Bassi, the tribunal stated: “If this is the level of manipulation by an officer of a reputed organization like CBI, that too in respect of the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, one can easily understand the gravity of the matter.”
The tribunal also questioned Verma’s decision of cancelling the transfer order.
It observed: “What is more disturbing is that an officer who headed the reputed organisation like CBI has acted upon a representation of that nature, and has chosen to pass order on the same day, with jet speed.”
The tribunal also stated, “…he did not choose to verify whether the portion extracted in the representation of the applicant is the same as the one contained in the judgement.”
The tribunal also stated that that Verma’s order on January 9, 2019 was in the “teeth of the directions issued by the Supreme Court. “When his entry into the office that too with so many conditionalities was on 09.01.2019, he was not supposed to bestow his entire attention to the issue of transfer of the applicant… The whole episode is in a very bad taste,” the Tribunal stated about Verma’s role.
Dismissing Bassi’s application, the tribunal appreciated interim CBI chief M. Nageshwar Rao who cancelled transfer decision taken by Verma. “In fact that was warranted to undo the entire illegality, if not mischief,” the tribunal stated.
The tribunal stated that some extraordinary developments have taken place in the CBI in 2018. The Director CBI Alok Kumar Verma has initiated steps against the Additional Director Rakesh Asthana “so much so” that an FIR was also registered.
On October 15, 2018, Bassi on a direction of Verma had then registered a bribery case against Asthana and Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar based on an accused Satish Sana Babu’s statement.
On May 7, 2020 Special CBI court has accepted CBI’s closure report giving clean chit to former Asthana and Kumar.
It was Bassi, who had arrested Kumar and paraded him humiliatingly in front of his family members in the court premises in Delhi.
The tribunal stated that the government and Central Vigilance Commission stepped in to do some damage control and passed several orders. “The Director challenged the orders passed by the CVC and the government, before the Hon’ble Supreme Court by filing Writ Petition ( C) No. 1309/2018,” the tribunal observed.
Almost at the same time 15 officers of CBI, including Bassi, were transferred. Bassi thought it fit to challenge the order of transfer in the Supreme Court itself. The apex court through its judgement dated January 8, 2019, disposed of the Writ Petition by issuing several directions.
SC observed that it is not felt necessary to examine the correctness or otherwise of the order of transfer and it was left open to the parties to challenge the same before the appropriate forum.
The tribunal stated that between January 8, 2019, the date on which day the Supreme Court rendered the judgement, and January 11, 2019 certain important developments have taken place. Verma was reinstated by the Supreme Court.
On the next day itself January 9, 2019, Bassi made a representation to Verma.
The tribunal observed: “…to convince the Director, he wanted to cite a paragraph of the judgement of the H’ble Supreme Court. In the name of extracting para-42 of the judgement, he did a calculated manipulation.”
The apex court para 42 in the judgement stated: “Coming to the several IAs filed, we are of the view that the orders of transfer etc. impugned/mentioned in the said IAs are a sequel of the three orders dated 23rd October, 2018 which were specifically impugned in the writ petitions.
“As we have answered the writ petitions in the manner indicated above, we do not consider it necessary to examine the correctness of the further/consequential orders of transfer etc. and that too on the basis of interlocutory applications filed in pending writ petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution, which stand disposed of by the present order. However, we leave the parties with the remedy of challenging the said consequential orders in an appropriate manner and before the appropriate forum, if so required and so advised.”
Dismissing the Bassi’s application, the tribunal further pointed that Bassi “seems to have omitted the above in his representation because, he found it to be not favourable to him”.
He omitted substantial portion which reads as under: “As we have answered the writ petitions in the manner indicated above, we do not consider it necessary to examine the correctness of the further / consequential orders of transfer, etc, and that too on the basis of interlocutory application filed in pending writ petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution, which stand disposed of by the present order.”
Bassi initially joined the Intelligence Bureau in 1986. He came on deputation to CBI in 1999 and in 20016 he was absorbed therein as Deputy Superintendent of Police. He worked at various places and on August 21, 2017 he joined the establishment at Delhi.