Alok Verma Back Despite Doval, Jaitley & Modi. Time for a Proper Investigation Into Rafale
Behind the October 23 coup, was the fear of a preliminary enquiry that Verma was set to initiate into the Rafale scam.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his consigliere Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the executioner of the post midnight coup against CBI Director Alok Verma, Ajit Doval were left with egg on their face as the Supreme Court reinstated Verma as director.
The motive behind the coup was the fear of a preliminary enquiry that Verma was set to initiate into the Rafale scam, authoritative sources close to Verma have revealed.
The SC has said that Verma cannot take major policy decisions till the committee completes its probe in to changes against him. The Modi government’s spin masters and embedded panna pramukhs immediately tried to spin on the fact that Verma was a “lame duck” director who could not take any “major policy decisions”. They fear a probe in to the controversial Rafale case. Authoritative sources say that initiating a preliminary enquiry (PE) into a criminal investigation for corruption is not a major policy decision but the mandate of the director of CBI.
It is likely that, post this huge slap in the face of the Modi government by the apex court, Verma will order the Rafale PE possibly as his first task upon taking charge. Authoritative sources told me that a desperate Modi government was sending feelers to Verma that they would appoint him a governor after his retirement on February 2. Left unsaid was the proviso that he not embarrass Modi by a Rafale inquiry.
Senior officials laughed at the spin, that Verma could not order an investigation, being put by the “pliable” media. Said a senior CBI official, “Are you joking? The legally appointed CBI Director can’t order a PE when the illegal one foisted by the Modi government, Rao, has ordered multiple PE’s against Akhilesh Yadav as part of the Modi’s government’s vendetta politics?”
Doval as Modi’s henchman had carried out the nuts and bolts of the coup at 2 am in the morning in October as Verma was sent on forced leave. Says a senior Modi Minister, “It will be better for Modiji to ask for Doval’s resignation as he has messed up every task he has been given. Perhaps, his age —70 plus — is against him”.
The other author of the coup, popularly called “blog minister”, Jaitley had in his lawyer avatar offered advise to Modi that the SC would not intervene and reinstate Verma. Jaitley had also held serial press conferences to justify the decision and blogged about it. “Jaitley clearly misled Modi on the one thing he has domain experience – law. Jaitley is using Modi’s fear of the CBI Investigation to get his way. Perhaps, Modi needs to review those he trusts like Doval and Jaitley,” says a senior minister.
I have know Verma for 20 years and he has always been a strait-laced official following the law to the letter. Verma had been increasingly uncomfortable at the illegal demands made by Modi’s PMO and even by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah to carry out serial political vendetta against BJP’s rivals. Verma had turned down such demands and attracted the wrath of the Modi government. Gujarat-cadre IPS officer, the allegedly tainted Rakesh Asthana had been made special director to ensure that Modi got his way.When Verma was removed, he was on the verge of ordering the PE in to Rafale and was about to arrest Asthana for alleged corruption.
The well-deserved slap from the SC comes at a time when the Modi government has carried out a serial assault on all institutions that make up the system of checks and balances in a democracy. The SC judgement has come as a shot in the arm for independent officials. It is also crucial to note that this judgement that the judgment came at a time when the Modi government was trying to control the narrative with the illegal upper-caste reservation move.
Hopefully the first thing that Verma will do in the CGO complex, is to order an inquiry in to the highly-controversial Rafale deal.