by Biranchi Narayan Acharya

The overall supervision of investigations is given to CVC whereas the government has control over administration. Despite all these provisions, CBI has always been considered as vulnerable to the ruling party's whip.

In the present case, the feud between CBI director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana has brought more dispute as both are fighting one another in public. Asthana has claimed that the CBI director scuttled the investigations carried out by Asthana due to hefty bribes whereas Verma has claimed that Asthana is running an extortion racket demanding bribes from various people accused of corruption. Alok Verma has filed an FIR against Asthana but isn't cooperating with the CVC over his alleged bribery accusations.

This ugly fight could have been avoided had the government stepped in earlier and taking the confidence of the Collegium sacked both number one and two for the sake of the reputation and integrity of the CBI. Late action always appears to be a hurried action and doesn't look good. Same thing happened and finally now as per SC's order both will be investigated for any prima-facie evidence of corruption. Time will tell whether the allegations against them are true or false but one thing is sure that both have damaged the credibility of the CBI and created groupism inside the institution.

Prima facie, I think this was a case of ego fight. Asthana felt that he is Modi's man whereas Alok Verma felt that Modi is one of the consenter in his appointment. Without PM's consent he couldn't be director, thus he thought that he too enjoyed Modi's support. Somehow I think Narendra Modi acted lately resulting in such chaos. It's time to make things alright with careful deliberations.

However, I really wonder why Rahul Gandhi is protesting and linking it to the Rafale deal? Earlier, he was complaining that the CBI (even under Alok Verma) works on the behest of Narendra Modi, to act against the Congress. Now suddenly he has switched tracks and started supporting Alok Verma. He even claimed that Alok Verma was about to start an investigation in to the Rafale deal for which he was sacked.

Now I have some questions for Rahul Gandhi. Who told him that the CBI was about start an investigation on the Rafale deal? Was it Alok Verma, who informed Rahul Gandhi? If yes, then isn't Alok Verma working in connivance with Rahul Gandhi? May be he was trying to sabotage the investigations against Congress leaders. Well, I am not saying that Alok verma is helping the Congress. But Rahul Gandhi's claim indirectly proves this. Thus, I feel Rahul Gandhi's backing and politicising this issue might do more damage to Alok Verma.

Now coming back to the question, whether Alok Verma was really about to start an investigation in to the Rafale deal. To understand how the CBI works, let me brief the process. Law and order is a state subject and the CBI is a central agency. CBI can't do any investigation unless it's notified by the Central government and consented by the state government. For cases against central employees to despite notification by centre, CBI has to get the state government's consent as central employees live in some state. Thus for investigation against central government employees state governments gave a general consent so that CBI immediately take action the moment central government notified a case. In case state government request for a CBI investigation, they have to request central government along with their consent after which central government notify for commencement of the investigation. Courts (HCs and SC) also can direct CBI for investigation. In that case state government compel to give their consent and central government notifies.

Now coming back to Rahul Gandhi's claim, has the Central government notified an investigation in to the Rafale deal? Has the SC or HC directed CBI to investigate the Rafale deal? If not, then how can the CBI start an investigation? During the UPA era, it might have been the case that verbal instructions from 10, Janpath were sufficient for the CBI to act and later on formalise the investigation, but at present it's the NDA era. The former master of 10, Janpath and her son are out in bail in the Rs 5,000 crore National Herald scam!

Some journalist asked questions about the Rafale deal to the protesting Congress workers. Interestingly nobody knew what the Rafale deal was. They are protesting because Rahul Gandhi said so! But then, Indian people aren't Congress workers or fools! They can't take ridiculous things for granted because Rahul Gandhi is claiming!

I don't know why Rahul Gandhi's counsellors don't suggest him to claim something that has credibility. One of my friends said that the coteries of Rahul Gandhi are in fact Modi's men and are trying to damage Rahul Gandhi's remaining credibility. I may not agree with my friend but then, it is hard to disagree because BJP says Rahul Gandhi is their biggest asset.