No ground to remove CBI chief Alok Verma : Congress

New Delhi: The Congress on Friday tore apart the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report used by the Prime Minister-headed 3-member high-powered panel, asserting that “there is not a speck of evidence or grounds to remove CBI Director Alok Verma.” Party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi told a Press conference here that scared of the Rafale truth, the Modi government is shamelessly firing bullets from the shoulders of the CVC and the latter is blatantly handing it the cover, damaging the independence of the CBI.

He said: “If mere allegations, surmises, conjectures and use of subjective adjectives will become the basis for the removal of statutory post holders, then the most alarmed should be the PM and the BJP President who have constantly maintained that in absence of adjudication of allegations or strong refutable evidence, they would not step down.”

Dubbing CVC as “collaborator in violating the Constitution,” he said: “A man (Modi), who can’t take criticism or defeat, used frivolous grounds to prove his point, misused his power, distorted the findings of CVC and misled the nation.” Singhvi, who is also a senior advocate in the Supreme Court, said the high powered committee should have given a hearing to the reinstated Verma as a “natural justice” before taking the decision.

Asserting that “since nothing has been either adjudicated or found against Verma, he said the least required was to hear him on the mere allegations heaped by the CVC on him instead of letting the CVC succeed in bullodozing him out of the CBI in “save Modi operation.” He said: “The CVC should not have allowed misuse of “the non-conclusions and non-findings” as if they were the conclusive, definitive views of some quasi judicial authority.”

Dissecting all 10 charges dealt by the CVC in its report, Singhvi asked Modi not to hide behind retired Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik, who was appointed by the Apex Court, to oversee the CVC investigations. He said Justice Patnaik was a broad overall supervisor, but he has gone on record that “he didn’t participate in the enquiry and that the findings/conclusions of the CVC Report are not his.”

Singhvi said one of the four alleged reasons relied upon for removal of Verma included he accepted a bribe of Rs 2 crore from Hyderabad businessman Satish Sana on which the CVC said “there is, however, no direct evidence” and the charge that he wanted an accused excluded from the IRCTC FIR and call off searches at Patna that were “not substantiated.”

Yet another specious and trivial charge was the inordinate delay in finalising probe report in a bank fraud indicating favouritism, on which the CVC says “this is merely an allegation.” Singhvi then went on to handle other issues on which the CVC said “not substantiated” again and again and put on record “conclusively” that no person has named Verma as responsible for facilitating a smuggler caught with gold at Delhi airport during his earlier tenure as Delhi police commissioner.

On helping cattle smugglers, the CVC records that “there is no truth in this allegation insofar as it relates to Verma,” while the charge of attempting to induct two tainted officers in CBI failed since they were not inducted at all, so much so that the CVC had to say that it is certainly not a valid ground to disqualify a CBI director from performing his tasks.

Singhvi said the allegation of undue interference in the CBI cases against Enforcement Directorate officials of Lucknow, the CVC concluded that “pressure to refrain from seizure does not get established” while in case of the ED officer of Chandigarh, the CVC noted that Verma had in fact given permission for searches.

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