The Centre told the Supreme Court that the fight between two top officers of the CBI -- Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana -- in public exposed the premier probe agency to ridicule.
Attorney General KK Venugopal told a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the fight between the two officers impacted the image of the CBI.
The Centre's main aim was to see that confidence of the public in this premier institution is restored, he said.
"Dispute between CBI Director and Special Director was pulling down integrity and respect of premier institution," he told the bench, also comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.
"Two top officers, Alok Kumar Verma and Rakesh Asthana, were fighting against each other and went public which exposed CBI to ridicule," Venugopal told the bench.
He said the fight between them had created an unprecedented and extraordinary situation and the Government of India was watching with "amazement" as to what these two officers were doing.
"They were fighting like Kilkenny cats," Venugopal said, adding that it was absolutely essential for the Centre to step in and act in the tussle between two officers.