New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked the Prime Minister over the removal of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Verma and accused Narendra Modi of divesting Verma of his duties to stop him from investigating the Rafale deal probe. Referring to PM Modi as “Mr 56”, the Congress president alleged that by removing Alok Verma, the PM broke the law when he bypassed Chief Justice of India and Leader of Opposition who were in the panel which selected the CBI chief. Also Read - Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi Pays Last Respects to Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi

Taking to Twitter, Rahul Gandhi wrote: “PM removed the CBI Director to stop him from investigating Rafale. Mr 56 broke the law when he bypassed CJI & LOP. Mr Modi, Rafale is a deadly aircraft with a superb radar. You can run, but you can’t hide from it.” Also Read - Congress Leader Ahmed Patel's Last Rites To Be Held At His Native Village In Gujarat's Bharuch

There has been no immediate reaction to the removal of Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana from the PMO. Rubbishing the rumours, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the government’s decision to remove Verma and Asthana was based on the Central Vigilance Commission’s (CVC) recommendations. Also Read - Congress Facing Another Leadership Crisis or Just Looking For Reform? Here's What we Know

Gandhi had earlier in the day said that sending Alok Verma on “forced leave” is a clear message that anyone coming close to unravelling the truth behind the Rafale deal will be “wiped out”. “CBI Chief Alok Verma was collecting documents on the Rafale scam. He was forcibly sent on leave. The Prime Minister’s message is very clear that whoever comes around Rafale — will be removed, wiped out,” Gandhi tweeted.

Addressing a rally in poll-bound Rajasthan, hours after Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana were sent on a leave over the allegations against them, he said, “The country and the constitution are in danger.”

CBI chief Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana were on Tuesday sent on leave so that a fair probe could be conducted in the allegations against them. Announcing the decision to divest the two of their duties, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the decision was based on the CVC’s recommendations and asserted the need to “restore the agency’s institutional integrity and credibility”.

Defending its move to remove Alok Verma as the CBI chief, Centre Wednesday said that he was not cooperating with the Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC) probe on allegations against him. “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 willful obstructions in the functioning of the Commission which is a Constitutional body,” the statement read.