Rahul leads march to CBI HQ, courts arrest

WATCH | “Prime Minister acted against CBI Director as a result of panic, fear,” says Congress President Rahul Gandhi

Track updates here: https://t.co/3qibwoaQLI #CBIDirector #AlokVerma pic.twitter.com/tT8DcEVwVt — NDTV (@ndtv) October 26, 2018 There were no immediate reactions from the Prime Minister’s Office on Gandhi’s allegations. While Ambani has been consistently denying the allegations, the BJP has accused Gandhi of manufacturing lies everyday on the Rafale deal. “The truth will come out,” Gandhi said, adding that removing the CBI director will not impact the truth. Addressing the gathering of Congress protesters earlier in the day, Gandhi accused Modi of destroying institutions such as the CBI, the Election Commission and the Enforcement Directorate. Senior Congress leaders, including Gehlot, Ahmed Patel, Motilal Vora, Veerappa Moily and Anand Sharma, took part in the march that culminated in a demonstration ahead of the CBI headquarters. Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav, CPI leader D Raja and TMC’s Nadimul Haque joined the protest. Carrying placards against the prime minister, the protesters walked the distance with scores of police personnel maintaining vigil and camera crews jostling with each other to capture the moment. One protester carried a placard depicting the CBI in a cage. Gandhi got on to a truck in front of the police barricades put up ahead of the CBI headquarters in the CGO complex to prevent the marchers from reaching the building. Gehlot said the decision to remove the CBI director was “illegal”. “The Chief Justice of India, the Leader of the Opposition and the prime minister can together take a decision to remove him, but not the prime minister alone,” he told reporters. “Our demand is to reinstate the CBI director… The prime minister should tender an apology to the nation for destroying the image of the premier investigating agency,” Gehlot added. The government has strongly defended its decision, saying it was “absolutely essential” to maintain the CBI’s institutional integrity and the move was based on recommendations by the Central Vigilance Commission. The Congress’ protests in the national capital were replicated in other parts of the country. State Congress leaders led demonstrations in their regions against what the Congress described as the “illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate removal of the CBI Director by the Modi-Shah duo that has shamed India and its premier investigative agency”. In Patna, for instance, Congress workers, including scores of women, sat on a dharna outside the gate of the CBI office at Bailey Road, carrying placards, reading ‘Save CBI Save Democracy’. Alleging that the prime minister is experiencing ‘Rafale-o-Phobia’, the opposition party said the “demolition of the CBI” was prompted by fears that the director was going to conduct a probe into the fighter jet deal. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has dismissed as “rubbish” the allegations by the Opposition that Verma was removed because he was collecting documents on the Rafale fighter jet deal. The government sent Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who have accused each other of corruption, on leave on Tuesday. It also transferred several CBI officials and appointed M Nageswara Rao as the interim chief of the agency. The Congress protest was held soon after the matter came up in the Supreme Court. The apex court said former Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik will oversee a CVC inquiry into the allegations and counter allegations and the report has to be placed before it within two weeks. It directed that interim CBI chief M Nageswar Rao shall not take any major policy decisions. Decisions taken by him since October 23 till date shall not be implemented, it said. All decisions taken by Rao shall be placed before the apex court in a sealed cover. The court sought a response from the CBI, the CVC and the Centre on Verma’s plea challenging the government’s decision to divest him of his duties. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi posted the next date of hearing on November 12. (PTI)]]>

#AlokVerma sacked over Rafale deal: Rahul

CBI director was sent on leave last night by the ‘chowkidaar’ because the investigating agency was raising questions on Rafale: Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Rajasthan’s Jhalawar (ANI)#CBIVsCBI #AlokVerma pic.twitter.com/YfBCT0Fx5u

— NDTV (@ndtv) October 24, 2018 He said the government’s decision to remove Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana is based on the Central Vigilance Commission’s recommendations. Gandhi said that the prime minister sought votes saying he wanted to become the ‘chowkidar’ of the country but “the ‘chowkidar’ committed theft”. The prime minister did not waive a single rupee of farmers, but he wrote off bad debt worth Rs. 3.5 lakh crore of top 15 businessmen of the country, he alleged. A farmer is called a defaulter (if he is unable to repay the loan) but big businessmen with bad debt are given a red-carpet welcome and banks ask them how they can be helped, Gandhi claimed . Lalit Modi is sitting in London but he gives crores of rupees to the son of your chief minister, Gandhi alleged while addressing the gathering. Vijay Mallya left the country after meeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament and Choksi deposited money in the ICICI bank account of Jaitley’s daughter, Gandhi alleged. The Congress chief had earlier accused Jaitley of helping the fugitive diamond merchant escape the country and had alleged that the minister’s daughter and son-in-law received retainership fees from the businessman. Jaitley’s son-in-law had later issued a statement, saying his law firm had returned the retainership the moment they came to know that the company was involved in a scam. Gandhi said that the previous UPA government started the MGRENGA programme that benefited the poor, but PM Modi called it “bekaar” (useless) scheme. The Congress president alleged that the BJP deceived people and siphoned off hard-earned money of farmers, poor, small businessmen to fill the pockets of the country’s 15-20 big industrialists. Fuel prices are rising and LPG is getting out of reach of common people. Everything that farmers, the poor and common people purchase is becoming costlier, Gandhi said. He said that both the prime minister and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje reneged on their promise of giving jobs to youths. “The Congress gave jobs to people through its Rs 35,000-crore MNREGA scheme. Has the prime minister, chief minister, Anil Ambani or Mehul Choksi given you jobs?” he asked the audience. He slammed the prime minister over his ‘sleeping elephant’ remark made during his Independence speech, saying he had insulted every Indian and their ancestors by belittling contribution of people who worked for the country’s progress. AICC general secretaries Avinash Pandey and Ashok Gehlot, PCC president Sachin Pilot and other senior leaders were present at the meeting. (PTI)]]>

'Unusual events necessitated intervention'

Wilful obstructions caused by CBI Director Alok Verma in the functioning of the CVC, which was looking into complaints of corruption against him, and a “faction feud” with his deputy Rakesh Asthana that “vitiated” the environment in the agency resulted in the divestment of powers of both officers by the government, a statement said on Wednesday. The government issued a detailed statement on the unprecedented events in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), where two top officials — Verma and Asthana — were divested of all powers by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, late on Tuesday. “The grave allegations of corruption by senior functionaries of CBI one against another, which has been widely reported in media, has vitiated the official eco-system of the organisation,” the statement said. It added that the environment of “faction feud” had reached its peak in the CBI, leading to a potential loss of credibility and reputation of the agency. It also vitiated the working environment of the organisation, which had a deep and visible impact on the overall governance, the statement said. The move came on a recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), which had passed orders divesting Alok Kumar Verma, Director and Rakesh Asthana, Special Director of all powers after considering “the extra-ordinary and unprecedented circumstances”, it added. In making the recommendation to the government, the CVC invoked its powers (under section 8 of the CVC Act, 2003) of superintendence over the functioning of the DPSE (CBI), insofar as it related to the investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. “The Government of India has evaluated the material before it and in the interest of equality, fair play and principles of natural justice, decided to divest Alok Kumar Verma, Director, CBI and Rakesh Asthana, Special Director, CBI of their functions, power, duty and supervisory role in any manner as Director, CBI and Special Director, CBI respectively,” the statement said. It added that the government had “carefully examined and evaluated” the material made available to it and being satisfied that an “extra-ordinary and unprecedented situation” had arisen, which demanded that the government exercise its powers under section 4(2) of the DPSE Act, which allowed it to curtail the tenure of the CBI director. “This has been done as an interim measure and will subsist till the CVC concludes its inquiry into all issues which have given rise to the present extra-ordinary and unprecedented situation and till the CVC and/or Government of India takes an appropriate decision in accordance with the law as regards the measures to be adopted as a consequence thereof,” the statement said. The then Special Director Asthana had levelled allegations of corruption against Verma in a complaint to the government on August 24, which was referred to the CVC. The CVC had demanded from the CBI that the files of the said matters listed in Asthana’s complaint be sent to it. “Various opportunities have been given to produce such records and after several adjournments, though CBI assured the Commission on 24th September, 2018 to furnish the records within three weeks. Despite repeated assurances and reminders, the Director, CBI failed to furnish the records/files before the Commission,” the statement said. The CVC had observed that the Director, CBI was not cooperating in making available the records and files sought by it, it added. “The CVC has also observed that the Director, CBI has been non-cooperative with the Commission, non-compliant with the requirements/directions of the Commission and has created wilful obstructions in the functioning of the Commission which is a Constitutional body,” the statement issued by the government said.