Reacting to the Supreme Court order reinstating Alok Verma to the post of CBI director, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that Verma had been divested of his powers “at 1 am” because he was “planning to investigate the Rafale deal”, and added that “some justice” had been done with his reinstatement.
Rahul, reiterting his accusations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal, said, “No one and nothing can save the prime minister from Rafale. I want to know whether the defence ministry raised on objection when Modi bypassed the old Rafale deal.” Claiming that “Rafale is the truth”, Rahul said that the nation is going to know with “100 percent surety” that “Modi took money” and gave it to “his friend”.
Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan had also said that Verma was asked to go on leave because he had been planning to probe the Rafale deal.
Bhushan termed the apex court’s order on Tuesday as a “partial victory for Verma” and said the court “ought to have restored him with full powers”. In its order on Tuesday, the top court said that Verma is forbidden to take major policy decisions as CBI director until a selection committee meets and decides on his fate.
While the apex court’s order overturning the Centre’s decision of his duties has been praised by legislators and Twitterati alike, concerns have also been raised about how the Narendra Modi-led BJP government had “arm-twisted” the system and “interfered” into the workings of the CBI.
SC quashes Govt decision to remove Alok Verma as CBI Director. But does not restore the time that he was illegally kept away & further restrains him from taking policy decisions! Still, that will not prevent him from ordering registration of FIRs & dealing with investigations
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) January 8, 2019
Bhushan, along with former BJP ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, filed a complaint against the Centre’s order divesting Verma of his powers—which named Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then-defence minister Manohar Parrikar. The petitioners urged the agency to file an FIR against them for alleged range of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault Aviation.
Addressing a press conference, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “The government had taken this action of sending two senior officers of the CBI on leave on the recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission. This action was taken perfectly bonafide.”
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision and said it was a “lesson” for the government.
Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress on SC's verdict on Alok Verma plea: We're not against one individual, welcome SC's judgement, it's a lesson for govt. Today you'll use these agencies to pressurise people, tomorrow somebody else will, What will happen to democracy then? pic.twitter.com/sAHEvuYNf8
— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2019
Congress’ Twitter handle also sent out a tweet saying the verdict has “lambasted” the government’s “illegal” removal of Verma.
We welcome the Supreme Court's verdict lambasting the govt. against their illegal removal of Alok Verma as CBI Director.
The SC has reinstated Alok Verma as director. https://t.co/4d2IvnnJ2x
— Congress (@INCIndia) January 8, 2019
Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Abhishek Manu Singhvi meanwhile sent out a tweet moments after the verdict was out, criticising the court’s order to not let Verma take calls on major policy decisions.
Before the Supreme Court verdict; Alok Verma didn't have powers of CBI Chief, couldn't take any decision on policy or investigation.
After Supreme Court verdict : DITTO !!!
— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) January 8, 2019
In a press conference, Singhvi also said how the prime minister is “experiencing Rafaleophobia”. He said the fighter jet scam had led to the demolition of the pillars of the Indian investigating agency. Reacting to the verdict, a CBI source was quoted by News18 as saying, “The uncertainty that was there in the past two months will continue. What constitutes policy decision to be interpreted.” Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also took to Twitter and praised the apex court’s verdict.
Welcome SCs decision to reinstate #AlokVerma as CBI Dir.Reinstates belief in independent institutions of our democracy that are its pillars. Time for the Central gov to stop misusing its influence to arm twist investigative agencies like NIA & CBI for political vendetta.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) January 8, 2019
Meanwhile, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the verdict is a “direct indictment of the PM”.
SC reinstating CBI director Alok Verma is a direct indictment of the PM. Modi govt has ruined all institutions and democracy in our country. Wasn't CBI director illegally removed at midnight to stall the probe in Rafale scam which directly leads to PM himself?
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 8, 2019
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala questioned how will the Centre will compensate for those “three months” of suffering that Verma had to undergo after he was forcefully sent on leave.
Another big question for Modiji.
After making #CBI Chief suffer the consequences of your illegal decision for 3 months, will you show the courage to return three months of lost tenure?
Unless you are afraid of investigation into #RafaleScam !
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) January 8, 2019