By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 25, 2018 7:21:15 pm
In a frontal attack against Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday called the sudden removal of CBI director Alok Verma a panic reaction by the Prime Minister as the agency was about to start an investigation into the Rafale fighter jet deal. Gandhi said the main motive of the government in sending Verma on leave was not to quell the infighting in the CBI, but to cover up the evidence in the Rafale deal.
“They (the government) are not removing the CBI director but trying to hide the evidence in Rafale deal. PM’s reaction was in a panic. The moment CBI inquiry begins in Rafale deal, the PM knows he is finished. He is scared that he indulged in corruption and he could get caught,” the Congress chief said at a press conference in New Delhi.
Gandhi also said that in bypassing the Chief Justice of India and Leader of the Opposition, who along with the PM are members of a committee that decides the appointment and removal of CBI directors, the government had insulted the Constitution.
“Appointment and removal of CBI director is done by a committee of three people — PM, CJI and Leader of Opposition. But at 2 am in the night, the CBI director was removed. This is an insult to the Constitution, insult to CJI, insult to people of India and is illegal and criminal,” Gandhi said.
On Wednesday, the government, to ostensibly end the war between the two top officers of the CBI, stripped CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana of all responsibilities. In its order on Verma, the CVC stated that the CBI chief did not cooperate in an enquiry against him, based on a complaint from Asthana, despite three notices being issued.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has already dismissed as “rubbish” the allegations that Verma was sent on leave because he wanted to investigate the Rafale deal. The interim charge of the agency has been given a person who has cases against him so that the PM can pull the strings, Gandhi alleged, referring to joint director Nageswara Rao.
“The charge of CBI has been given to a man who has cases registered against him. Why? Because the PM can control him and that no inquiry can be conducted into Rafale,” Gandhi said.
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