Mumbai: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday condemned the government for divesting CBI chief Alok Verma of his powers and sending him on forced administrative leave, calling the move illegal.
"The state of disarray and arbitrariness that has characterised the functioning of key institutions such as the Central Vigilance Commission, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and above all, your own Office is unprecedented in our nation's history," he wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Kharge who is the leader of the party in Lok Sabha, called the transfer of CBI Director and his entire team "a grave violation of the law, the Supreme Court's clear directions on the subject and the Constitution of India", and said he was surprised by the developments.
The Congress leader said there were "no visible grounds" for Verma's transfer and opined that it was a hasty attempt to "scuttle the ongoing investigations into the Special Director's cases and other cases that might cause significant embarassment" to the Modi government.
Citing the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, Kharge pointed out that transfer of a CBI Director requires the approval of the Members of the Selection Committee, that is, the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India or a SC judge nominated by the CJI.
He also said that the government was attempting "to create a false equivalence between the CBI director and Special Director", calling it an "absurd and almost laughable attempt".
Bringing up the controversial Rafale deal, Kharge alleged that the transfer or divesting of authority of Verma was "illegal" and pointed to a "sinister agenda to scuttle important investigations". He said that the entire incident seems to be more like a "cover up".
"Is the PM trying to scare the dissenting voice of an officer? Or is the PMO scuttling the probe with the sole aim of preventing the truth of reported corruption in the Rafale fighter jets purchase?" Kharge asked.
Letter by LoP LS Mallikarjun Kharge to Prime Minister Modi informing him that the removal of the CBI director is illegal and can only be done with the consent of the Committee. #ModiSeCBIBachao pic.twitter.com/rdkh3POHsD— Congress (@INCIndia) October 26, 2018
Incidentally, in 2017, Kharge, as a part of the 3-member committee to select the Deirector of CBI, had recorded a dissent vote on Alok Verma's name. Citing the fact that Verma had never served in the CBI he had supported former CBI officer, RK Dutta....