Centre's CBI moves illegal, says Congress

Centre's CBI moves illegal, says Congress

Links it to Rafale

Senior congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi. PTI filephoto

The Congress on Wednesday questioned the powers of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to recommend the removal of CBI Director Alok Verma and attacked the Modi government of “systematic dismantling” of the premier investigation agency.

It also sought to link the CBI Director's removal on his attempts to probe the Rafale fighter jet deal.

"PM removed the CBI Director to stop him from investigating Rafale. Mr 56 broke the law when he bypassed CJI & LOP," Congress president Rahul Gandhi said.

“An illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate coup d'etat in the CBI by the Modi-Shah duo has shamed India and all its Indian institutions,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said soon after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the CBI's director and special director were “sent on leave” on CVC's recommendation.

Singhvi said that the CVC had no powers to recommend the removal of the CBI director and even his transfer or promotion was subject to the consent of the committee that selected him for the post.

“It is the de-facto removal, de-facto suspension of the CBI Director and we charge the Prime Minister and the ruling BJP and its president for doing this, so as to control the premier investigative agency to get its dirty jobs done,” Singhvi said.

Singhvi said the decision of the Modi government to appoint an interim director to the CBI was also a violation of the Supreme Court order in the Vineet Narain case.

“By making such a move, the Centre has nullified Supreme Court's order which mandates independent completely unbiased autonomous CBI,” he said accusing the Modi government of supporting Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who was under investigation from the CBI.

“The prosecution agency, the prosecutor, the prosecuting officers have been paralysed by this the government only to support an accused charged for an extortion,” Singhvi said.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Modi government has put the “last nail” in the independence of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by removing Verma.

“PM Modi seeks to achieve surreptitiously & clandestinely what he can’t do directly to sack the CBI Director,” Surjewala said and demanded a response from the Prime Minister.

He said the systematic dismantling and denigrating of CBI was now complete. “Once a premier investigating agency, PM ensures that CBI's integrity, credibility and reliability is 'buried and dead',” he said.