NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi will lead the party as it stages protests outside all CBI offices across the country on Friday, demanding reinstatement of CBI director Alok Verma, who has been sent on leave, and seeking an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "destroying" the image of the premier investigating agency.
Gandhi tweeted he will lead the party's protests outside the CBI headquarters in CGO complex in the national capital.
"Tomorrow, outside CBI offices nationwide, the Congress party will protest the PM's disgraceful attempt to prevent an investigation into the Rafale scam, by removing the CBI Chief. I will lead the protests outside CBI HQ in Delhi, at 11 AM," he said, using the hashtag "CBIRafaleGate".
In a letter to all Congress general secretaries, state unit chiefs and legislature party leaders, AICC General Secretary Ashok Gehlot has asked them to hold demonstrations against the BJP government outside all CBI offices across the country.
Senior Congress leaders will participate in the protest outside the Central Bureau of Investigation headquarters in the national capital, while state leaders will lead the demonstrations in their regions, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
Gehlot in his letter said, "An illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate removal of the CBI director by the Modi-Shah duo has shamed India and its premier investigative agency. The prime minister is experiencing 'Rafale-o-Phobia' and "this terror of Rafale scam has led to the demolition of the CBI," he alleged.
"Taking strong objections to this step by the government, Congress workers will demonstrate outside CBI offices and highlight the systemic denigration of institutions like RBI, ED, CVC, EC, UPSC one after another by this BJP government," he said.
"Our demand should be to reinstate the CBI Director. As per the law, he could be transferred only with the consent of the appointing authority (comprising Chief Justice of India, the prime minister and the leader of opposition). The prime minister should tender an apology to the nation for destroying the image of the premier investigating agency," Gehlot said.
The government sent Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who have accused each other of corruption, on leave on Tuesday.
It also transferred several CBI officials and appointed M Nageswar Rao as the interim chief of the agency.
Verma moved the Supreme Court Wednesday challenging the government's decision.
The apex court has agreed to hear his plea on Friday.