Alok Verma likely to resume office on Wednesday

Balanced verdict, says Jaitley; Congress, Opposition parties welcome ruling to restore CBI Director

January 08, 2019 10:31 pm | Updated January 09, 2019 12:43 am IST - NEW DELHI

In a cage:  Congress workers protesting outside the CBI headquarters in October.

In a cage: Congress workers protesting outside the CBI headquarters in October.

Central Bureau of Investigation Director Alok Verma is likely to resume charge on Wednesday, following the Supreme Court judgment setting aside the “overnight” stripping of his powers on the intervening night of October 23 and 24.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday described the verdict as balanced, saying the government’s decision to send Mr. Verma and CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana on leave — based on the Central Vigilance Commission’s recommendation — was “perfectly bona fide”, and that it was done to protect the integrity of the CBI. He said the decision was legal as the two officials were at loggerheads.

“No one can save PM”

The Congress and other Opposition parties welcomed the judgment. Talking to presspersons outside Parliament, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said no one could save Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Rafale investigation. He said the CBI Director was ousted at 1 a.m. as he was about to begin an investigation into the Rafale deal. “The CBI chief has been reinstated, and we have got some relief. Now let us see what happens,” he said. “They cannot run away from Rafale, it is impossible. Modi ji ran away from a debate. He should have discussed with us the Rafale issue, in the people’s court. No one can save them from Rafale, as Rafale is the truth. No one can run away from the truth.”

“The truth of Rafale will destroy Mr. Modi. It’s only a question of time before full evidence of his role in the theft of ₹30,000 crore becomes public. Congratulations to the SC for upholding the law,” he later tweeted.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury demanded that the Prime Minister quit on moral grounds as the verdict was a “direct indictment” of Mr. Modi and his office.

‘Indictment of Modi’

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “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?”

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, who represented one of the petitioners in the case, said it was a “partial victory”, as the CBI Director had not been given full powers.

Mr. Bhushan said: “But, strangely, after quashing the orders divesting him as CBI Director and despite restoring him, the court has said that he will not take major policy decision till such time that this high-power committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India meets and considers the matter.”

( With PTI inputs )

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