Cong's tough posers to PM on Verma's removal
New Delhi: Expressing his concerns over the "blatant, brazen and beleaguered use of (investigative) agencies" by the Centre, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and questioned the removal of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Verma.
In a three-page letter to the PM, Kharge, the leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, argued that neither the central government has the authority to remove the CBI director nor the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has the right to recommend one. Verma and CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana were sent on leave on Tuesday night.
"First, there are no visible grounds to transfer the Director. The only plausible explanation for this desperate and hasty move is an attempt to scuttle the ongoing investigations into the Special Director's cases and other cases that might cause significant embarrassment to your government," the letter read.
"Second, that no one — neither you nor the CVC — enjoy the requisite authority to interfere with the Terms of Service vested in the Director," the letter added.
The letter to Modi concluded with the Congress leader terming the removal of the CBI director as "illegal, mala fide" that "points to a sinister agenda to scuttle important investigations including into the Rafale deal. It seems less like a 'clean-up' as your cabinet colleagues are nervously asserting and strikingly more like a 'cover-up'."
While addressing the media in the national capital, Kharge, in an indirect reference to Modi, accused the 'supreme leader' of having 'sleepless nights'.
Kharge also raked up the snooping on Verma by alleged Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials earlier in the day in the national capital. "This is nothing but the blatant, brazen and beleaguered use of agencies," he said.
The CBI chief was sent on indefinite leave to pre-empt an investigation into the Prime Minister's role in the Rafale deal, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said Thursday.
At a press conference, union minister Prakash Javadekar accused Gandhi of "manufacturing lies" and said his linking of the government's decision on the CBI with the Rafale deal was "hallucination".