NEW DELHI: Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre have conducted a political coup against the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
"The Modi government and the Prime Minister have conducted a political coup against the CBI. They have conducted transfer of all the officers and directors, and main objective appears to be to protect the chosen officers of the Prime Minister posted at CBI," Yechury told ANI.
"We don't know if CBI was investigating other issues like Rafale scam. If that was the case, it was ordered to protect the govt, Prime Minister and concerned officers. Why was the DIG investigating the charges against Asthana has been sent to 'Kala Pani' in Andaman?," he added.
Soon after the government's decision to send him on leave, CBI Director Alok Verma had moved the Supreme Court to challenge it. The apex court has accepted Verma's petition and the matter is likely be heard on October 26.
The Centre's move has been criticised by several Opposition parties. However, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rubbished the allegations.
M Nageshwar Rao was appointed as the interim Director of the CBI with immediate effect. Rao, a 1986 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Odisha cadre, was working as the Joint Director in the investigating agency.
He will now look after the duties and functions of Director, CBI, and will take over the duties and functions with immediate effect, read an order from the central government.
The Central Government's decision came a day after CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana moved the Delhi High Court seeking the quashing of First Information Report (FIR) filed against him by the premier investigating agency of India. The court later ordered that no action would be taken against Asthana until next hearing, which is scheduled for October 29.
The CBI had filed an FIR against Asthana for allegedly accepting a bribe from a businessman, who was related to Moin Akhtar Qureshi case. Asthana was heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that was probing Qureshi's case.