Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday charged Prime Minister Narendra Modi with destroying key institutions to cover up the “Rafale scam” following reports of Supreme Court judge A.K. Sikri, who sided with the government to remove CBI Director Alok Verma, being nominated to the Commonwealth Tribunal.
According to sources, Justice Sikri was nominated by the Modi government to the prestigious post of President/ Member of the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT).
CSAT is the final adjudicator of disputes arising out of contracts entered into by or on behalf of the Commonwealth Secretariat. After reports of his nomination emerged, Justice Sikri declined his “consent” for the post.
Reacting to the development, Gandhi tweeted: “When the scales of justice are tampered with, anarchy reigns.”
“This Prime Minister will stop at nothing, stoop to anything and destroy everything, to cover up the Rafale Scam. He’s driven by fear. It’s this fear that is making him corrupt and destroy key institutions,” said Gandhi tagging a media report about the post-retirement offer to the Supreme Court judge.
Sikri was part of the Selection Committee including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge that on Thursday decided 2:1 to remove CBI chief Verma from the post. Kharge gave a dissenting note and opposed Verma’s ouster.
Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs said the decision regarding Sikri’s nomination was made last month in view of his retirement on March 6, 2019, from the Supreme Court.
The CSAT was established to meet the requirements of the Agreed Memorandum on the Commonwealth Secretariat (1964) which was revised by governments in 2005.
In fulfilment of its obligations under the Agreed Memorandum, the UK government passed the Commonwealth Secretariat Act 1966 which, among other things, gives the Commonwealth Secretariat legal personality and accords it certain immunities and privileges.
The CSAT has a full complement of eight members comprising the President and seven others. The members are selected by Commonwealth governments on a regionally representative basis from among persons of high moral character who must hold or have held high judicial office in a Commonwealth country.
The members are appointed on a four-year term which may be renewed only once.
Born on March 7, 1954, Sikri was sworn in as a Supreme Court judge on April 12, 2013. He earlier served as the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.