'Scared' of Rafale probe, Modi removed CBI chief: Rahul

Last Updated 25 October 2018, 12:21 IST

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed the CBI chief at 1 am at night because he was scared the agency was going to start probing the Rafale fighter jet deal.

Taking his campaign against the government to the Mahila Congress, Gandhi said the CBI director can be removed only by a three-member committee comprising the prime minister, the chief justice of India and the leader of the opposition.

However, the prime minister did not ask the other members and took the decision on his own, Gandhi alleged while addressing a state-level convention of the Mahila Congress.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has dismissed as "rubbish" allegations that CBI director Alok Verma was removed because he wanted to investigate the Rafale deal.

Gandhi raised the issue at a rally in Jhalawar on Wednesday as well.

According to the Congress president, Modi changed the Rafale contract without consulting the defence ministry or the Indian Air Force.

“The defence ministry and the IAF worked for years on the contract. But the prime minister, without asking the defence minister or the defence ministry or the IAF, changed the contract of Rs 30,000 crore. The CBI was going to start an inquiry and therefore the prime minister got scared and removed the CBI chief at 1 am in the night,” he alleged.

He also reiterated his "chowkidar" charge, saying that the prime minister was scared that the country would know that the "chowkidar" had stolen Rs 30,000 crore.

The late-night order on Tuesday from the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet led by the prime minister sent Verma and CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who were at loggerheads, on leave.

Jaitley said on Wednesday that the government's decision to remove the CBI's two top officers was based on the Central Vigilance Commission's (CVC) recommendations.

(Published 25 October 2018, 11:48 IST)

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