Congress accuses Modi government of violating law in CBI case, chief Alok Verma’s petition to be heard by SC today

The Congress has criticised the Narendra Modi government for interfering in the functioning of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), dubbing it as “controlled by intrusion”.

Senior party leader, Mallikarjun Kharge wrote to the Prime Minister alleging that the government has violated the law by sending the CBI Director Alok Verma and his entire team on leave. According to him this was only done in order to disrupt the current investigations that might expose the government. In the letter, he further criticised the government for favouring Special Director Rakesh Asthana who himself was under investigation.

“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 (Narendra Modi) government,” Kharge wrote.

He added that neither the PM, nor the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has the authority to interfere with the terms of service of the Director. Therefore it is a breach of law, he said. “It also constitutes as a serious, illegal and unwanted intrusion by the Prime Minister and other Government functionaries into an ongoing criminal investigation”, Kharge added.

Verma and Asthana have accused each other of meddling in the investigations of several important cases and taking bribe. The Centre sent both of them along with the entire team on leave and appointed M Nageshwar Rao as the interim CBI Director.

Alok Verma has challenged the government order within hours of being asked to go on leave and his petition will be heard by the Supreme Court today.

However, in what is being seen as a jittery Centre’s clarification ahead of the SC hearing, the CBI has clarified that Verma is still the agency chief and Nageshwar Rao is only an interim head.

The probe agency has said that Verma is still the director of the CBI, and Rakesh Asthana will continue as Special Director, clarifying that neither has been removed from his post. Rao will only look after the duties and functions of the CBI director till the investigation is over.

The SC hearing is expected to take place around noon.

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