New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that sacking of CBI chief Alok Verma twice showed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “prisoner of his own lies” and there was fear in his mind over the alleged corruption in the Rafale aircraft deal.
Gandhi’s attack came hours after Verma was removed as CBI director by a high-powered committee headed by Modi on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty, in an unprecedented action in the central probe agency’s 55-year history.
“Fear is now rampaging through Mr Modi’s mind. He can’t sleep. He stole 30,000 crore from the IAF and gave it to Anil Ambani. Sacking CBI Chief Alok Verma twice in a row, clearly shows that he is now a prisoner of his own lies. Satyamev Jayate,” he tweeted.
The Congress party also termed the government’s action as a “gross miscarriage of justice” and alleged that the Prime Minister was trying to protect his and his government’s “wrong-doings” by appointing a “pliable officer”.
Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma alleged that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) “had lost credibility and was compromised”. He said the present CVC had no authority to form a panel of officers as mandated under the law. Sharma also alleged that the CVC was acting at the behest of the Prime Minister’s office.
He demanded an independent probe monitored by the Supreme Court into the events of October 23/24 night when Verma was removed as CBI Director in a ‘midnight operation’.
Addressing a press conference, Sharma said, “It is not only a gross miscarriage of justice, it’s a travesty… that we have a situation where even the basic tenets of natural justice have been thrown to the winds by none other than the committee chaired by the PM.”
He alleged that the Prime Minister was stopping the CBI from investigating himself and his ministers, an obvious reference to the alleged corruption in the Rafale aircraft deal.
Sharma also supported Mallikarjun Kharge’s views that Verma has the right to present his case and alleged that the government did not want the CBI to investigate certain cases.
Sharma alleged that the Prime Minister was preparing a ‘Suraksha Kavach’ for himself and his friends so that the acts of “omissions and commissions” under him are not looked into for the next two years. He alleged that the decision has further dented the reputation of the CBI.
While there was no immediate comment available from the PMO, the BJP termed the Congress a “sore loser”, saying the party has been left to lick its wounds “after failing to subvert the central probe agency by joining internal personal battles”.
To the BJP’s charges, Sharma said the Prime Minister wants to “compromise” the investigating agency to target opposition through political vendetta.
Sharma said today’s developments are “very disturbing” and the CBI has been “deliberately wrecked by the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister’s Office and the BJP government”.
“They are uncomfortable with an independent CBI with the authority under law to investigate or probe any matter, any person in high authority and to act according to the law for any act of omission, commission or irregularity.”
‘Mahagathbandhan’ club of ‘nawabs of negativity’: Jaitley
Mumbai: The opposition “mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) is a club of “nawabs of negativity” and the only glue of this diverse grouping is its opposition to one man (Narendra Modi), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
People of an aspirational society which is politically conscious will not buy into this “suicidal” alternative, the senior BJP leader said.
“The nawabs of negativity may come together but that is not something that will carry credibility as far as people are concerned,” Jaitley said, speaking via video link at the CNBC-TV18 India Business Leadership Awards event. During the video call, Jaitley also spoke about the Union Budget.
This was the first time Jaitley, now in the US for medical treatment, addressed a gathering since leaving the country on Tuesday.
The setback the ruling BJP suffered in Assembly elections in three heartland states recently (Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan) has enthused some opposition leaders about the likely electoral success of such an alternative.
The “mahagathbandhan” has neither the ideological cohesiveness nor a common programme aimed at building the country or an individual leader, Jaitley said.
As against the BJP’s strengths of leadership, decisiveness, performance and potential, the point being put forward by the opposition is of arithmetic, Jaitley highlighted.
In politics, it is not the arithmetic but chemistry which succeeds, he added.
“The premise is that we have politics which is negative in character and the negative politics is we want one man (Narendra Modi) out. On that negativity of wanting one man out, they (Opposition) have come together,” Jaitley said.
Arun Jaitley also said there is a need to elevate the political debate in the run up to the elections and stressed that we cannot afford a “sloganised political debate” where emotional cries take over sound policy.
Without mentioning the promise of farm loan waivers, which the opposition Congress is pitching for, the minister said “sloganised policies” never help the larger interest of the economy and it is the country’s aspirations which will receive a setback in the process.
Govt compromising national security, why 36 Rafale jets instead of 126: Chidambaram
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday accused the government of compromising national security and asked why it bought only 36 Rafale fighter jets instead of 126 required by the Air Force.
His comments come in the wake of fresh revelations on the Rafale deal in a media report which claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to but 36 aircraft instead of the 126 asked for by the Air Force pushed the price of each jet up by 41.42 per cent.
“In the light of new facts and revelations in THE HINDU, the question gains greater urgency: why did the government buy only 36 Rafale aircraft instead of 126 aircraft required by the Air Force?,” Chidambaram asked in a tweet.
“The Government has compromised national security by denying to the Air Force the 7 squadrons (126 aircraft) that it desperately needs,” he said.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also took to Twitter to demand answers from Modi on the increased cost of aircraft. “The PM’s unilateral decision to buy 36 Rafales resulted in a price escalation of 41.42 per cent per jet. When will the prime minister answer? he asked.
No war, but soldiers are dying on borders: Bhagwat
Nagpur: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said requisite steps need to combat killings on the border, as soldiers are being martyred sans a war-like situation in the country.
“In our country, there is no war at the moment, still people (soldiers) are getting martyred…Because we are not doing our jobs properly. We need to make efforts in this regard. If we want our country to reach the top, then we all should learn to sacrifice,” he said at a gathering here on Thursday.
Furthermore, Bhagwat said the responsibility of safeguarding the country should not be solely shouldered by the Forces.
“Everybody has to make efforts in this regard. This is not something for which we can give a contract to somebody. We keep thinking that the government will do it or the army will do it, the police will do it, but it’s not like that, the entire society has to make efforts,” he opined.
Citing the example of Israel, Bhagwat noted: “If one looks closely, after 70 long years, those countries in comparison with India have done better in terms of growth and development. Israel is a classic example. The natives were weed out before the 19 c. But citizens there gradually came back to their country and started their businesses, trade etc. Finally, in 1948 they got independence.”