CBI issue: Oppn pounds on Modi, Jaitley defends govt

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said "no one can save Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Rafale investigation". (PTI File Photo)

The Opposition on Tuesday pounded on the Narendra Modi government after the Supreme Court reinstated CBI Director Alok Verma even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the decision to send him on leave as "perfectly bonafide."

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said "no one can save Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Rafale investigation" while CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury demanded his resignation, but Jaitley said the decision to send Verma and his second-in-command Rakesh Asthana on leave was taken on CVC's recommendation to protect the integrity of the investigating agency.

A combative Gandhi said the CBI chief was "ousted" at 1 am, as he was about to begin an investigation into the Rafale deal, and the entire nation will know "without a shadow of doubt" that he (Modi) has taken Rs 30,000 crore of people's money and given it to his "friend" Anil Ambani.

"The CBI chief has been reinstated and we have got some relief. Now let's see what happens. They cannot run away from Rafale, it is impossible. Modiji ran away from a debate. He should have discussed with us the Rafale issue, in the people's court. No one can save them from Rafale, as Rafale is the truth. No one can run away from the truth," he said.

Defending the government, Jaitley said the verdict was "balanced." "This action taken was perfectly bonafide as there were cross-allegations made by both the officers, and in accordance with recommendations of the CVC. The government felt that in the larger interest of fair and impartial investigation and credibility of CBI, the two officers must recuse themselves," he said.

"The court apparently has strengthened the immunity given to the CBI director in the larger interest of the fair and impartial working of the CBI. At the same time, the court has devised an accountability mechanism. The directions of the court will obviously be complied with," he added.

Yechury described the court order as "a slap on the face of Modi" and if he has any "moral conscience," he should step down. "Many of us have experienced that he does not have conscience. This is a big blow to Modi and his government," Yechury said.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, who is part of the Selection Committee to choose CBI Director by virtue of being the leader of the single largest party in the Lower House, said the order was a "lesson" for the government.

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CBI issue: Oppn pounds on Modi, Jaitley defends govt

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