West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday launched an all-out attack against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led central government over the ongoing mess in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) – country’s premier probe agency.
Banerjee, a staunch critic of the Narendra Modi government, said that the “CBI has now become the BBI - BJP Bureau of Investigation” and termed the entire episode “unfortunate”.
The remarks of the West Bengal CM came after the Centre’s surprising overnight decision to deprive CBI’s warring top two - Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana - of their powers and sent them on “leave”.
The main Opposition party Congress also trained its gun at the Modi government and claimed that Alok Verma was “sacked” because he was willing to investigate the alleged irregularities in the Rafale fighter aircraft deal.
The government, however, defended the move saying that it was necessary to maintain the “institutional integrity and credibility of India’s investigation agency.
“The government is committed to ensure that India’s investigation agency doesn’t become a mockery as few of the officers have made it in the last few days,” Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a press conference in New Delhi. Jaitley also added that the officers will be reinstated if found innocent.
The infighting in the CBI started after CBI Chief Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana accused each other of corruption and wrongdoing. The relations between the two senior most CBI officers have always been strained but this time their feud came out in the public domain.
The government has appointed joint CBI director M Nageshwar Rao as interim chief of the agency. Soon after taking charge, Rao transferred several officers including those probing the bribery charges against Asthana.