Hours after Alok Verma was ousted from the post of CBI director following a high-powered selection committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the Modi-led BJP government over the politically sensitive Rafale fighter jet deal. Taking to Twitter, the Congress chief alleged that sacking CBI chief Alok Verma twice in a row clearly shows that PM Modi is a prisoner of his own lies. In an apparent reference to the Rafale "scam", the Gandhi scion said fear is now rampaging through Mr Modi’s mind. He cannot sleep as he stole Rs 30,000 crore from the Indian Air Force (IAF) and gave it to industrialist Anil Ambani.
"Fear is now rampaging through Mr Modi’s mind. He can’t sleep. He stole 30,000Cr from the IAF and gave it to Anil Ambani. Sacking the CBI Chief #AlokVerma twice in a row, clearly shows that he is now a prisoner of his own lies," the tweet reads.
Fear is now rampaging through Mr Modi’s mind. He can’t sleep. He stole 30,000Cr from the IAF and gave it to Anil Ambani. Sacking the CBI Chief #AlokVerma twice in a row, clearly shows that he is now a prisoner of his own lies.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 10, 2019
Reacting strong to Verma's removal, Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan wondered if IPS officer Alok Verma was shunted out as CBI director as he allegedly was going to probe the Rafale jet deal.
In a related note, a group of HAL employees early in the day alleged a conspiracy by the NDA government to "bleed and shut down" the state-run aerospace major. They also demanded the aerospace company should be given the contract for making the remaining tranche of 90 Rafale aircraft under Transfer of Technology (ToT) route.
Alleging graft in the deal, Gandhi has been critical of the Narendra Modi government for overlooking the HAL by giving preference to Reliance Defence. Raking up the political storm over the Rafale fighter jet deal, the Congress chief had in October 2018 interacted with HAL employees in Bengaluru.
However, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday dismissed all those allegations in Lok Sabha, saying contracts amounting to more than Rs 26,570.80 crore have been signed between 2014-18 by the HAL and orders worth Rs 73,000 crore are in pipeline.
In an unprecedented move, Verma, a 1979-batch AGMUT-cadre IPS officer, has been removed from the high-profile post on the charges of corruption and dereliction of duty. He is the first chief in the 55 years of the CBI's history to face such a vicious action.
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge expressed his dissent to the decision which was taken by a majority of 2:1. The third member in the panel was Justice A K Shikri, appointed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi as his nominee.