CBI vs CBI: Odisha Congress joins nationwide protests against Centre

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Congress today observed protest in front of the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) office here as part of the party’s country-wide agitation against the Centre’s interference in affairs of the nation’s premier probing agency.

Hundreds of the party workers led by OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik took out a rally and congregated before the CBI office in Bhubaneswar wearing black shirts as mark of protest against the Narendra Modi-led government for its undue meddling in CBI.

The members of the party raised slogans demanding reinstatement of Alok Verma as CBI Director and also sought an apology from PM Modi for tarnishing the image of the probe agency.

“Without taking approval from the Chief Justice of India, Opposition leader and a judge, the Modi-led government has unethically removed Verma from the post of CBI director. Not only that the Centre has also diluted the powers of Enforcement Directorate and RBI. The move is a conspiracy by PM Modi to establish an autocratic form of government. In Odisha too, chit fund scams which were under the ambit of CBI director Rakesh Asthana, who was appointed as replacement of Alok Verma, could not be completely probed thus suggesting that it was all stage managed between the ruling-BJD, the Centre and the CBI,” OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik said.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi led a noisy protest march by the Opposition against the government move to strip CBI Director Alok Verma of his power, which he said was an attempt to prevent an investigation into the Rafale deal.

In a dramatic midnight action, the government on Tuesday night divested CBI chief Verma of his charge and made Joint Director M. Nageshwar Rao the interim director.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) took the decision as the war between Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana escalated over bribery allegations hurled at each other.

Asthana was also divested of all supervisory charges on Tuesday.