New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday alleged that the Chief Vigilance Commission and the government were hand in glove in divesting CBI Director Alok Verma of his powers and termed it as a "sinister conspiracy to put a lid on investigation" into Rafale deal.
The Opposition party questioned why CVC Commissioner KV Chowdary had "abruptly cancelled" his scheduled foreign tour to hold an urgent meet at night on 23 October on the matter and issued an "illegal" order against Verma.
Addressing a joint press conference with AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot, AICC media in-charge Randeep Surjewala claimed there were layers of drama in the late night that day wherein "a fraud was played on the Constitution by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with CVC, which was now out in the open".
There was no immediate reaction from the CVC and the Prime Minister's Office on the Congress' allegations.
The government had divested powers of Verma and CBI's Special Director Rakesh Asthana's in the early hours of 24 October, amid an ongoing spat between them. The decision to remove the two was based on the CVC's recommendations.
"Chowdary was scheduled to go on a tour to Denmark on October 23 (Tuesday) in the evening. He abruptly cancelled his tour and held a meeting of the Central Vigilance Commission at night," Surjewala claimed.
On the same day at around 11 pm, CBI's joint director M Nageshwar Rao, was sent to CBI headquarter in anticipation of the CVC order, Surjewala claimed.
Rao is now the interim chief of the CBI, but the apex court has barred him from taking any "policy" or "any major decision".
Surjewala claimed that Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik called his subordinates at around 11:30 pm to alert to them about an urgent midnight operation.
"At 12:00 am, Delhi Police Commissioner received instructions from National Security Advisor and briefed Delhi Police officers for taking over the CBI headquarters by Delhi Police," he claimed.
As the Delhi Police attempted to take control at the CBI headquarters at around 12.30 am, they were stopped by the CISF guarding the premises, Surjewala claimed.
He claimed that Patnaik then spoke to the head of CISF, who also received instructions from the Prime Minister's Office/National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, to permit takeover of CBI premises by Delhi Police.
On the other hand, between 8 pm and 12.30 am, CVC and his two colleagues drafted the recommendations for removal of Verma, Surjewala claimed.
He alleged that the CVC order was taken to North Block, where Secretary Personnel, C Chandramouli was waiting as per instructions of PMO.
"Chandramouli then rushed to the PMO. Cabinet Committee on Appointments headed by Prime Minister, then, approved the removal of Alok Verma as the CBI Director and appointed, M Nageshwar Rao as the new CBI Director," he claimed.
The Congress leader claimed that the CVC and Additional Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training then visited the CBI headquarters.
At around 2.30 am, the CVC, the Additional Secretary and Rao, the then Joint Director, came out of the CBI headquarters with files and records, he claimed.
Surjewala also posed questions to the government saying "if the CVC did not have the powers to remove the CBI director then why did it help the government in conducting its nefarious conspiracy".
"Has the CVC deliberately permitted himself to be misused by the government to carry of sinister conspiracy to put a lid on investigation into Rafale corruption?" he said.
The Congress has been persistently attacking the government on the Rafale deal, alleging corruption. The government has vehemently denied the allegations and has accused Congress leaders of spreading lies on the issue.
"What was the tearing hurry for the CVC to cancel his Denmark tour scheduled for October 23, call a midnight meeting and pass an illegal order for divesting the CBI Director, Alok Verma of all his duties?" Surjewala said.
The party also alleged that Rao was sent to CBI office at 11 pm on 23 October, even before the order naming him the interim chief of the agency was issued.
Updated Date: Oct 27, 2018 22:25:19 IST