New Delhi: The removal of Alok Verma as CBI Director came under severe attack from opposition parties and legal experts saying it was “desperation” of the government as Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not want any probe into the Rafale jet deal. The critics of the decision also asked how the committee could take a decision without giving hearing Verma.
The Congress criticised the committee’s decision and said Modi had shown that he was “too afraid” of an investigation into the Rafale deal. “By removing Alok Verma from his position without giving him the chance to present his case, PM Modi has shown once again that he’s too afraid of an investigation, either by an independent CBI Director or by Parliament via JPC,” the Congress tweeted.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said if it was a majority decision to remove Verma, then it was unfortunate. “I don’t know why Verma was not asked to reply to the charges against him. I have very poor opinion of the CVC,” he said. Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan saw a conflict of interest in the role of the Prime Minister, who is part of the three-member committee that also has Leader of the Congress group in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and CJI nominated representative Justice A.K. Sikri of the Supreme Court.
“A day after he resumed charge as CBI Director, the committee headed by Modi again transfers out Alok Verma post haste without even hearing him, fearing the prospect of his registering an FIR against Modi in the Rafale scam.
“How can the committee decide this without hearing Alok Verma’s point? It shows desperation of government. PM has conflict of interest. Such desperation to prevent any investigation,” he said. Another senior lawyer and Rajya Sabha member Majeed Memon called the removal of Verma a “breach of power”. “The decision of the Select Committee against Alok Verma is complete breach of power. The committee should have listened to him. The CVC’s role in the matter is also under suspicion,” Memon said.
Congress leader and senior lawyer Abhishek Singhvi said it was unfortunate that Verma had been removed on the basis of allegations and the CVC had no credibility. “The Prime Minister is apprehensive that skeletons in his cupboard would tumble out,” he said.