Environment in CBI vitiated under Modi: Manmohan

Environment in CBI vitiated under Modi: Manmohan

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress leader P Chidambaram, former Union minister Arun Shourie, former diplomat Pavan Verma and former jounalist Ashutosh at the release the book "Paradoxical Prime Minister" authored by Shashi Throor (3rd from left) in New Delhi, Friday. PTI

Describing the Narendra Modi regime as "not good for India", former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the environment in national institutions like the CBI has been "vitiated".

Singh's first remarks on the latest string of developments in the investigating agency that led the government to send CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana came at the launch of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's latest book on Modi, 'The Paradoxical Prime Minister'.

In a brief speech, Singh tore into the Modi regime saying the government is "mostly silent" on widespread communal violence, mob lynching and cow vigilantism.

"At the same time, academic freedom is being sought to be curbed. The environment in our universities and national institutions like CBI is being vitiated and dissent stifled," he said. Later, former finance minister P Chidambaram echoed Singh when he said the current government has "virtually destroyed" the agency.

Chidambaram said this is an example of how an institution is being destroyed. "It always had its weaknesses, I am not denying that...but today we have virtually destroyed it. A new government has to reinvent it, this cannot be repaired or put together again," he said.

In a lighter vein, he said, he is "one of the "favourites" of the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate". He was referring to the cases registered against him by these agencies.

Former BJP leader and Modi-critic Arun Shourie said Modi has lost "lost control of administration" and what one sees in CBI, IB, RAW and in the Prime Minister's Office is an "absolute civil war".

Referring to the economic front, Singh said nothing concrete has been done to "bring back the promised billions of dollars" allegedly stashed abroad.

"Hastily implemented demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST) have proved to be disastrous. Petrol and diesel prices are at historic high despite fall in international crude oil prices because the Modi government chose to levy excessive excise duty instead of passing on the benefit of low prices to the people of India. Modi thought it fit punish people," Singh said.

"Much of what the Modi government has done has turned out to be little more than a series of empty gestures and marketing gimmicks," Singh said.

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