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Congress hits out at Narendra Modi govt, accuses it of 'systematic dismantling of CBI'

Congress party has blamed the Modi govt for 'systemic dismantling' of the CBI.

Congress hits out at Narendra Modi govt, accuses it of 'systematic dismantling of CBI'

NEW DELHI: The Congress party on Wednesday made a scathing attack on the Narendra Modi government holding it solely responsible for the entire mess in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and damaging the central probe agency's credibility and reputation.

In a series of tweets, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Narendra Modi Government has buried the ‘last nail’ into the independence of the CBI.

Surjewala blamed the present BJP dispensation at the Centre for ''systematic dismantling and denigrating'' of the central probe agency.

Surjewal further said that the integrity, credibility and reliability of the CBI, which was once a premier investigating agency, is now ‘buried and dead’ under the Modi government. 

Further attacking the Modi government in another tweet, the Congress spokesperson accused it of ''habitual and perpetual misuse of CBI'' to tamper fair investigation of serious criminal cases. 

Question the PM's inability to sack the CBI director, the Congress leader accused him of acting in a clandestine manner, which, he said, was the reason for this unfathomable mess.

Surjewala also accused the PM of direct interference in the functioning of the CBI.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Prime Minister’s role in the entire matter is “under a cloud” and the country is looking for a fair, impartial and independent investigation of serious charges of corruption involving senior-most officers of the CBI and the RAW. 

Surjewala said the matter needs to be investigated and brought out as to who in the current political dispensation is involved in this entire saga and is attempting to shield the accused involved in the matter? 

“Instead, the Prime Minister is illegally and unconstitutionally interfering in the investigation,” he alleged.

While alleging that the PM has shown the true colour of his infamous ‘Modi Made Gujarat Model’ by this cloak-and-dagger mugging of CBI, Surjewala questioned has the CBI Director been sacked for his keenness to probe the layers of corruption in Rafale Scam?

''Isn’t the rest a shoddy cover-up? he said. 

Addressing a press conference on the issue, Surjewala had on Tuesday asked whether the Prime Minister’s action has put the role of the Chief Vigilance Commission also under a cloud and wondered why the CVC is shying away from its statutory obligation of acting impartially and decisively to punish wrongdoing.

“Why did the Prime Minister call the head of CBI, also head of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to his residence? Was it to influence the ongoing corruption investigation against CBI and RAW officers?'' he asked.

“Is the CVC also being instructed by someone in the political executive,” he asked.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is solely accountable and responsible for dismantling, denigrating and destroying India’s premier investigation agency i.e., the CBI,” he alleged, adding Modi’s “role has come under a cloud”.

The Congress leader alleged that there is lurking suspicion regarding the role of the resent political executive at the highest level along with the role of senior CBI officers. He cited the example of former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, whose resignation the BJP had sought merely for talking to the CBI director during the UPA government.

Surjewala also alleged that the CBI is not the only institution “decimated and dismantled by a political design to subserve as the dirty tricks department of the Bhartiya Janata Party by the ruling elite and the PM”.

There is a systematic pattern to “vilify, disband and destroy every institution” like the ED, Income Tax Department, CBDT, SFIO, NIA are other such institutions that are being used as ‘captive puppets’ in converting them ‘dirty tricks department’ of the BJP”, he alleged.

Surjewala said a case in point is the repeated extensions being given to CBDT chairperson by the prime minister and another one is repeated extensions to earlier NIA chief and the temporary appointment of ED for years together and pending extension of the ED Director, post-retirement.

All these are meant to “subvert, suppress and subjugate to serve at the whims of PM and the BJP”, Surjewala alleged.

Remarks from Surjewal came minutes after CBI chief Alok Verma, his deputy Rakesh Asthana and several other officers were sent on leave in an unprecedented move by the government amid an ongoing internal battle within the country's top investigating agency.

M Nageshwar Rao was appointed the interim director of the CBI with immediate effect.

Nageshwar Rao, a 1986 batch officer, supersedes Rakesh Asthana and was joint director of the CBI or Central Bureau of Investigation.

Rao will "look after duties and functions of director CBI and shall take over the duties and functions with immediate effect," said the order by an appointments committee led by the Prime Minister.

Rao is a 1986 batch IPS officer from the Odisha cadre. Meanwhile, the offices of both Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana were sealed and all officers working with the CBI director sent on leave.

The opposition has accused the government of trying to protect Rakesh Asthana - a Gujarat cadre officer dubbed the Prime Minister's "blue-eyed boy" by Congress president Rahul Gandhi - who, after being appointed the number two officer last year despite stiff opposition from Alok Verma, handled major investigations.