Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday mounted an attack on the central government saying that Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Alok Verma was forcibly sent on leave as he was collecting documents related to the Rafale deal.
Gandhi tweeted, “CBI chief Alok Verma was collecting documents relating to the Rafale deal. He has been forcibly sent on leave. Prime Minister’s message is clear: Whoever sniffs around the Rafale deal will be removed. The country and the Constitution are in danger.”
Earlier in the day, Verma moved the Supreme Court challenging the central government’s decision to send him on leave.
The apex court had accepted Verma’s petition and the matter is likely be heard on October 26.
Gopal Sankaranarayanan, the lawyer appearing for Verma, told the apex court that the Centre on Wednesday morning asked his client and CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana to go on leave, hence compromising the investigation into many sensitive cases.
M Nageshwar Rao was appointed as the interim director of the CBI with immediate effect. Rao, a 1986 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of Odisha cadre, was working as the Joint Director in the investigating agency.
He will now look after the duties and functions of Director, CBI, and will take over the duties and functions with immediate effect, read an order from the central government.
The central government’s decision came a day after Asthana moved the Delhi High Court seeking the quashing of First Information Report (FIR) filed against him by the premier investigating agency of India. The court later ordered that no action would be taken against Asthana until next hearing, which is scheduled for October 29.
The CBI had filed an FIR against Asthana for allegedly accepting a bribe from a businessman, who was related to Moin Akhtar Qureshi case. Asthana was heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that was probing Qureshi’s case.