Stepping up their attack against the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, the Congress party has started their protest outside Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) offices across India demanding the reinstatement of the premier investigative agency’s director Alok Verma.
The party is also demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly destroying the image of the investigative agency.
The Congress has termed the Centre’s move to send Verma on leave as a disgraceful attempt to prevent an investigation into the alleged Rafale scam.
In Delhi, Congress leaders Ambika Soni, Anand Sharma, Selja Kumari, former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat among others took part in the protest which is being led by party president Rahul Gandhi.
Scores of protestors raised slogans against the Centre’s decision and displayed placards reading, ” CBI has stopped all investigation since BJP came to power”, “CBI: Closed Bureau Investigation.”
The Congress leaders, along with their party workers, are marching from Dayal Singh College on Lodhi Road to the CBI headquarters at JLN marg here.
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill, who was present at the demonstration, said, “Rafale ke khel se ghabraayi Modi-Shah ki jodi isliye raaton-raat CBI todi. Satyamav Jayate! Loktantra Moditantra ko harayega (Prime Minister Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah were scared of investigation in Rafale deal, so they sent the CBI director on leave. Satyamav Jayate! Democracy will defeat the government of Prime Minister Modi)”
Meanwhile, in Bengaluru, Congress workers wearing masks of Prime Minister Modi hit the streets and raised slogan against the Central Government.
In Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) chief Raj Babbar led a protest against the Centre. Similarly, in Bihar the Congress workers took to streets expressing angst over the decision to send Verma on leave.
Earlier in the day, Rahul had tweeted, “Join us today at 11 AM as we march from Dayal Singh College on Lodhi Road to the CBI HQ, to protest the PM’s disgraceful & unconstitutional attempt to block an investigation into the Rafale scam by removing the CBI Chief. Similar protests are being held today, across India.”
Gandhi on Thursday linked Centre’s action against Alok Verma with a probe into the alleged Rafale scam, which, he claimed, was about to be conducted by the Verma. He said that the Prime Minister panicked anticipating an investigation.
Terming the temporary removal of CBI director from his official post as illegal, he said, “Appointment and removal of CBI director are done by a committee of three people — the Prime Minister, Chief Judge of India and the Leader of Opposition. The Prime Minister removed CBI Director at 2 am in the night. This is illegal and criminal. This is an insult to the Constitution, an insult to the CJI, an insult to the Leader of Opposition and insult to people of India.”
However, the CBI on Thursday informed that Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana, who were sent on leave, will continue to remain the CBI Director and Special Director, respectively.
M Nageshwar Rao, who was appointed as the interim director of the CBI will look after duties and functions of the CBI Director in the interim period till the time Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) looks into the allegations.
Verma and Asthana were sent on leave by the government on Tuesday midnight after they charged each other of accepting bribes.
Asthana has been charged with extortion and forgery in addition to the bribery and corruption charges. It has been alleged that he received a bribe from an accused to give him a clean chit in Moin Qureshi case. He was heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that was probing Qureshi’s case.