Summary removal of the Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Alok Verma on Thursday evoked sharp reactions from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been making “all efforts” to remove Verma from the post for the past two months, sensing that he was to order an investigation into the Rafale fighter jet deal.
Verma was removed as CBI Director by a high-powered committee headed by the Prime Minister on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty on Thursday, barely two days after the Supreme Court reinstated him. Earlier, Verma had been sent on forced leave by the Government in a late-night controversial order on October 23, 2018 in the wake of a feud between him and his deputy Special Director Rakesh Asthana.
Talking to reporters here, Kejriwal said, “If the Prime Minister had done no wrong, what was the problem in letting the Rafale probe go on?” “Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made all efforts to remove Alok Verma from the CBI for the past two months, which is not right,” Kejriwal alleged. Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and many other Opposition parties have alleged irregularities in the Rafale fighter aircraft deal with France, a charge denied by the Government. He alleged that the BJP Government had wanted to purchase 36 Rafale fighter aircraft at a very high price.
“The cost of one fighter aircraft is around Rs 600 crore and they (Government) want to purchase it at Rs 1,600 crore per aircraft...An additional burden of Rs 36,000 crore to the exchequer,” he also alleged. The Chief Minister said the BJP-led Government “unleashed” the CBI and Delhi Police on him “so many times” during the past four years. “I was subjected to raids and inquiries...More than 400 files of Delhi Government were illegally seized by the Modi Government. I was not afraid at all of these raids and so-called probes since I had not indulged in any wrongdoing, even of a single paisa,” Kejriwal said.