Hours ahead of the meeting of the high-powered selection committee to decide on the future of Alok Verma, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday asked why was Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a “tearing hurry” to “sack the CBI chief”. Gandhi reasoned it was because Verma is probing the alleged corruption charges against the Centre in the Rafale deal.
The meeting of the selection committee will be chaired by the prime minister at 4 pm. The committee also comprises Justice AK Sikri and Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
Taking to Twitter, Gandhi said: “1. Why is the PM in such a tearing hurry to sack the CBI Chief? 2. Why will he not allow the CBI Chief to present his case in front of the selection committee? Answer: RAFALE.”
1. Why is the PM in such a tearing hurry to sack the CBI Chief?
2. Why will he not allow the CBI Chief to present his case in front of the selection committee ?
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 10, 2019
CBI Director Verma resumed office on Wednesday, over three months after he was sent on forced leave by the central government through a late-night order on October 23 last year. The Supreme Court set aside the order of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and Union government, divesting Verma of his powers and functions, finding that it went against the “legislative intent” to “ensure complete insulation” of the CBI Director “from all kinds of extraneous influences”.
The court has, however, directed Verma not to take any policy decisions till the statutory committee meets within a week and decides further on the matter.
Gandhi had earlier accused the PM of removing Verma to save his ‘friends’ from the Rafale probe. A day after Verma was sent on leave, the Congress chief, while imitating Modi, had said, “He (PM) said to you, Mitron, mujhe pradhan mantra mat banao, mujhe chowkidaar banao (friends, don’t call me the Prime Minister but a watchman). And the watchman purchased Rs 526 crore aircraft for Rs 1,600 crore. The chowkidaar put Rs 30,000 crore in Anil Ambani’s pocket…(and) last night, the chowkidaar removed the CBI director, because CBI was raising questions on Rafale.”
In a tweet later, he added that the “PM’s message is very clear: whoever comes close to Rafale will be removed and erased” and that “nation and democracy are in danger”.
Welcoming the apex court’s order on Wednesday, Gandhi had said that no one can save Modi from Rafale investigation and that the entire nation would know “without a shadow of doubt” that he had taken Rs 30,000 crore of people’s money and given it to his “friend” Anil Ambani”.
“The CBI chief was ousted at 1 am in the night because he was about to begin a probe into the Rafale deal. 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. Modi ji 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 had tweeted.