The cloud over the CBI appears to be clearing. Yesterday, a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which included senior Congress leader Mallikarjuna Kharge and Justice Sikri (Chief Justice Gogoi’s nominee) removed Alok Verma as Director of the agency.
The Central Vigilance Committee (CVC) in its report on the matter made some damning observations on the conduct of Verma. It concluded that there was grave misconduct on the part of the now ousted CBI Director. Some of the allegations were regarded as ‘prima facie established’ while others could not be substantiated. The grave allegations against Verma include a cover-up in the Nirav Modi scam and dilution of a Look Out Circular against fraud accused Vijay Mallya, fabricating documents, leaking documents related to the Aircel case etc.
Under such circumstances, it appears rather strange that Kharge was opposed to Verma’s removal. He claims that there was a “conspiracy at the highest levels of the Government with statutory authorities being found complicit”, which appears to be part of a “pre-meditated decision” to remove Verma “with reasons and processes being manufactured as an afterthought.” Kharge alleged that the PMO and NSA Ajit Doval had a role in the removal of Verma and the whole series of events required a separate investigation.
The allegations against Verma are quite serious and some of them were even substantiated by the CVC. It appears rather strange that the Congress party is supporting him especially considering the fact that Verma is accused of misconduct in the much-publicized frauds involving Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya and even the Aircel banking fraud.
As per Justice Markandey Katju, former Judge in the Supreme Court, Justice Sikri who was part of the process of removal, told him that there was prima facie evidence of guilt on grave charges. He was of the opinion that until the matter was fully investigated, Verma should not remain the Director of CBI.
I spoke to Justice Sikri this morning and asked him what he has to say about removal of Alok Verma.
Justice Sikri said the following: pic.twitter.com/cYEFZ4GBff
— Markandey Katju (@mkatju) January 11, 2019
Contrary to the wisdom of the CVC and Justice Sikri, the liberal ecosystem has lent its vocal support to the disgraced Verma. A certain journalist claimed that Verma’s removal “undermines India’s anti-corruption edifice”.
“If high powered committee can remove #CBI chief Alok Verma on mere suspicion, then how is Samant Goel continuing in R&AW”. A senior police officer asked me.
The #CBIChiefRemoved undermines India’s anti corruption edifice, I report in @asiatimesonline https://t.co/hZK1jFIvEB
— Saikat Datta (@saikatd) January 11, 2019
Another claimed that institutions are ruined by the NDA government.
Institutions will be left in ruins by this government. Remember how in 2014 we were told the UPA had undermined institutions and that Modi would be respectful of the very bodies and posts that would also reduce the damage he could do? That was obvious nonsense. https://t.co/KSDYgWfx3R
— Mihir Sharma (@mihirssharma) January 10, 2019
Overall, the sentiments prevailing upon the “liberal” camp suggests that they are emotionally invested in the fate of Alok Verma. And it is rather perplexing.
When the Constitution can be amended in less than 48 hours, Alok Verma lasting for around 48 hours itself is a big achievement ?
— Arvind Gunasekar (@arvindgunasekar) January 10, 2019
Imagine, whole government machinery against a CBI Director. It is plane mismanagement and nothing else. If institutions like CBI and RBI cannot be managed then Centre must have a re look at its political talent pool who are supposed to run institutions
— Kartikeya Sharma (@kartikeya_1975) January 10, 2019
Others managed to drag the Rafale Deal into it as well.
By showing such haste to remove Alok Verma without giving him a hearing, the government has only confirmed that a possible investigation into Rafale makes it very nervous
— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) January 10, 2019
The reactions from the Opposition camp suggests that the removal of Verma has really gotten under their skin. While they claim it is so because the CBI under Verma was potentially considering investigating the Rafale deal, which the CBI isn’t capable of doing, could the actual reason be that Verma was somehow compromising the investigation into Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya? Unfortunately, we may never know.
One wonders then what the larger agenda of this worrying trend is. While the entire Congress ecosystem has for the longest time screamed about getting Vijay Mallya back and blamed the Modi government for not doing what is necessary, why would they continue to protect a man who is alleged to have diluted the LoC against Mallya. While the Congress ecosystem has consistently asked for Nirav Modi to be bought to books, why would they then support a man who diluted the case against Nirav Modi and even leaked documents of the case?
The ‘non-pliant’ journalists have run their agenda without effectively informing their readers what the entire gambit of the case is. Or perhaps, the larger agenda of the Congress ecosystem is to stall these cases? The real motive of their proximity to these elements, one would not know immediately, but could it be that the “non-pliant” journalists are trying to help the Congress party build their narrative by diluting the cause of the nation. The most interesting aspect, other than the “journalists” and Congress supporting Alok Verma, is how Prashant Bhushan, who is against the removal of Verma, was helping Mallya through his allegations against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana.
In the entire fiasco, none of them seems to be talking about the grave substantiated the allegation that Alok Verma potentially fabricated a document to implicate Asthana.
All of this evidence points to a worrying trend of the Congress ecosystem harming the Nation and the institutions of the Nation just to get back at one man: Narendra Modi.