New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi and senior leaders of other opposition parties on Friday protested outside the CBI headquarters in New Delhi against the move to divest agency’s Director Alok Verma of his powers and send him on leave.
The Congress president later courted arrest as part of his protest, following which he was allegedly detained and taken to Lodhi Colony Police Station, only to be released in some time.
Speaking to media outside the police station, Gandhi hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the ongoing crisis in the country’s premier investigative agency, saying that the latter has deceived the nation, and that the government’s overnight act of removing the CBI chief was an “act of panic”.
“PM can run, he can hide but in the end, truth will be revealed. Removing CBI Director will not help. PM acted against CBI Director; it was an act out of panic,” he said.
Reiterating his allegations against the prime minister on the Rafale fighter jet deal, Gandhi again called him “chowkidar” and said he had “deposited Rs 30,000 crore in Anil Ambani’s pocket”.
“He has stolen money from the Indian Air Force and the youth, and the entire country understands this. The prime minister can run but he cannot hide from the truth,” Gandhi told reporters after courting arrest at the Lodhi Colony police station.
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.
Earlier addressing the gathering Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue.
He also accused him of destroying institutions including the CBI, the Election Commission and the Enforcement Directorate.
Senior Congress leaders, including Ashok 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.
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”.
The apex court said former Supreme Court judge A K Patnaik will oversee a CVC inquiry into the allegations against Verma and the report has to be placed before it within two weeks.
It directed that interim CBI chief M Nageswara 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 opposition has claimed that PM Modi is experiencing what they call “Rafale-o-Phobia”, and the “demolition of the CBI” was prompted by fears that the director was going to conduct a probe into the Rafale fighter jet deal.
However, the government, rejected the charges. “Congress doesn’t have any people’s issues to raise that is why they are taking up these non-issues. We should wait for the investigation report,” said Home Minister Rajnath Singh.