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Congress workers hold protest outside CBI office in Mumbai

Mumbai Congress workers on Friday staged a demonstration outside the CBI office as part of the opposition party’s nationwide protest against the Centre’s move to divest agency director Alok Verma of his powers and send him on leave.

City Congress president Sanjay Nirupam, who led the protest outside the CBI office in suburban Bandra, accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “removing” Verma “illegally and by going against the Constitution”.

The premier investigating agency has of late witnessed a raging feud between two of its top officers – Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana – who were sent on leave by the government on Tuesday night.

Verma and Asthana were also divested of all powers. As an interim measure, the charge of the CBI has been given to Joint Director M Nageswar Rao.

Criticising the Centre over its action against Verma, Nirupam said Modi should apologise to the nation over the “unprecedented” developments in the probe agency.

“Verma was removed illegally and unconstitutionally. Because they (the government) knew Verma was going to issue an order for a CBI probe into the Rafale deal,” Nirupam told reporters.

“So, to hide their sordid affairs, the prime minister damaged the Constitution and law and order,” the former Member of Parliament said.

Nirupam charged the prime minister with threatening the autonomy of the central agency.

“He is misusing the power. We had heard the prime minister was threatening people using the CBI, but now he himself is feeling threatened by the CBI,” he added.

The protesting Congress workers also raised slogans against the prime minister.

The main opposition party’s central leadership had called for a nationwide protest against what the Congress described as the “illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate removal of the CBI director”.

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