CBI director's removal hasty, govt set wrong precedents: Shiv Sena

The Shiv Sena termed the ouster of reinstated CBI Director Alok Verma, who resigned from police service on Friday, as a panic reaction of the Narendra Modi government which is battling allegations over the purchase of Rafale fighter aircraft.

In an editorial in the party mouthpiece "Saamana", the Sena said the government has set "wrong precedents" by denying Alok an opportunity to defend himself, and took aim at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Alok resigned a day after he was transferred from the position of CBI chief to Director General, Fire Service, Civil Defence and Home Guards under the home ministry by a high powered committee headed by the prime minister.

He was reinstated as CBI director by the supreme court only on January 8, nearly three months after he and special director Rakesh Asthana were divested of their powers and sent on administrative leave by the government over allegations and counter-allegations of corruption.

"If the prime minister can use every platform to defend himself amid allegations over the Rafale deal then why such an opportunity was not given to the ousted CBI chief?" asked Sena.

Referring to the entire episode, the Sena questionned: "Did the fear in the mind of some (people) that many secrets would tumble out of the CBI's closet in case of Verma heading the agency even for a day led to his immediate ouster?

"What about the allegations that he was shunted out because he may have made the government an accused in the Rafale deal and would have registered an offence?" it asked.

Sena further said Asthana, who enjoyed the "backing" of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), had tried to turn the CBI into a "slave" of the government.

The government has set "wrong precedents" by removing Alok as the CBI director, it said.