Press Briefing in AICC on Rafale Truth– 11-Jan-2019

Statement Issued by Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Spokesperson, AICC

CVC =  “Collaborator in Violating the Constitution’!

मोदी एवं सरकार राफेल जांच के डर से CVC जैसी अन्य  संस्थओं के पीछे लुका-छिपी खेल रहें हैं
संस्थाओं की खोखली रिपोर्टों की आड़ में  PM सरकार अपना बचाव करने  प्रयास कर रही है

Scared of the ‘Rafale Truth’ – Modi Govt shamelessly fires bullets from the shoulders of CVC
& CVC is blatantly handing them the cover!

The Narendra Modi Government is, in a cowardly fashion, taking refuge and firing bullets from the shoulders of the CVC to completely damage and undermine the independence of the premier investigation agency – the CBI. It is extremely alarming, shocking and deplorable that the CVC as an institution is willingly allowed itself to be subordinated in this fashion.

The Indian National Congress strongly condemns this tyranny and absolutism whereby credibility of institutions is being bulldozed and institutions like the CVC are being made to surrender in front of a desperate Government, which will go to any extent to prevent independent CBI functioning. We are seeing the beginning of the end of the ‘One Man, One Rule Era’

A man who can’t take criticism or defeat used frivolous grounds to prove his point, misuse his power, distort the findings of CVC and misled the nation.

  1. CBI Director should have been granted ‘Natural Justice’
  • The principle of Natural Justice demands that the High Powered Committee should have given a hearing to the reinstated CBI Director, Shri Alok Verma, provide him a hearing and then take a decision.

Instead, the Committee removed Shri Alok Verma from the post of CBI Director without even listening to his side of the story. This was done, even as Leader of Opposition, Shri Mallikarjuna Kharge pleaded for the same.

Why was the CBI Director not heard in the Committee before a decision to transfer him was taken?

Since nothing has been either adjudicated or found against Shri Verma, the least required was for him to be heard by the Committee on mere allegations against him.

  1. CVC Office was Completely bulldozed in ‘Save Modi Operation’:

It must be remembered that the CVC is neither the appointing authority nor the removing authority for the CBI Director. Hence, CVC report is not gospel truth to form the entire and sole basis for the Committee to remove Shri Verma. The Committee should see the nature of the superficial and subjective charges in the CVC Report.

The CVC report can never be a substitute for a due process of law enquiry. The Committee has overlooked the fact that the CVC report which is the sole basis of the Committee’s conclusions is based upon charges raised by a complainant (Shri Asthana) who is not only himself under CBI investigation but whose petition to stop and quash such investigation has been dismissed today. The entire CVC Report is based on conjectures, premises, speculations and unsubstantiated inferences, as demonstrated below by quoting from the self same CVC Report.

After careful analysis and analysis of the report, the following conclusions emerge:-

  • On the charge of accepting a Rs 2 Cr bribe– The CVC itself concedes that “there is however, no direct evidence on the allegation of payment of bribe of Rs 2 Cr to Shri Alok Kumar Verma to Shri Satish Sana..”[Para 13(i).33]

Yet it is astonishing that this is one of the four alleged reasons relied upon for the removal of Shri Alok Verma.

  • On the charge of Exclusion of a suspect from being named as accused in an FIR– IRCTC case-: “The allegation on Shri Alok Kumar Verma, Director CBI tried to call off the searches at Patna is not substantiated…” [Para 13(ii).18]

Yet it is astonishing that this is one of the four alleged reasons relied upon for the removal of Shri Alok Verma.

  • On the charge of Inordinate delay in finalizing investigation report in bank fraud case against main accused, indicating favouritism towards the main accused. “The only allegation against him and this is merely an allegation that there was delay in finalizing the investigation report by the CBI and that Shri AlokVerma as Director CBI should have ensured its timely completion.” [Para 13(iii).11]

It is absolutely laughable that a CBI Director who otherwise has a fixed tenure can be removed on such specious and trivial charges.

  • On the charge of Transfer of SIR related to Joint Director, CBI- “With regard to the allegation of transfer of SIR related to Shri Rajiv Singh then JD, CBI – the CVC has concluded that allegation is not substantiated.” [Para 13(iv).4]
  • Not taking action on certain intelligence inputs. The CVC has concluded that with regard to the allegation of not taking action on certain intelligence inputs, the allegation against shriAlok Kumar Verma stands not substantiated [Para 13(v).2]
  • With regard to the allegation of illegal gratification in the ongoing Preliminary Enquiry against land acquisition in Haryana “the CVC has merely concluded that there is some laxity in the progress of the enquiry”. This by no stretch of imagination can be a ground for the removal of a CBI Director. Moreover, the CVC has concluded “the reasons for such delay and roles of officers concerned cannot be discerned.” This by itself indicates that there is no criminal allegation or proof of wrongdoing against Shri AlokVerma. [Para 13(vi).3]
  • With regard to the allegation of smuggling of gold at IGI Airport Delhi, the CVC has concluded “the Commission called for the records of the Customs authorities and Delhi police. As per records none referred to the name of Shri Alok Kumar Verma in this matter.” [Para 13(vii).4]

Moreover, the CVC conclusively records that on a perusal of the entire records it is clear that no person has named Shri Alok Kumar Verma as responsible for facilitation of this smuggler.” [Para 13(vii).10]

  • With regard to helping cattle smugglers the CVC records there is no truth in this allegation insofar as it related to Shri Verma. [Para 13(viii).3]
  • With regard to the allegation of attempting to induct tainted officers it is noteworthy to point out that the proposal for the induction of both the officers was not acted upon by the DOPT. The allegation is premature at best and wild conjecturing at the worst. It is certainly not a valid ground to disqualify a CBI Director from performing his tasks. [Para 13(ix).5].
  • With regard to the allegation of undue interference in CBI cases against ED officials (Lucknow case) the CVC has concluded that “from the above the allegation of pressure to refrain from seizure does not get established” [Para 13(x).A.8]

With regard to the allegation of ED Officer Gurnam Singh (Chandigarh Case) it is noted by the CVC that in fact Director CBI had given permission to go ahead and conduct searches. [Para 13(x).B.3]

Finally on this allegation the CVC Report concluded that “at this point of time the Commission cannot give any final view on this aspect” [Para 13(x).B.7]

  1. In light of this vacuous CVC report, it is safe to unambiguously state that there is not a speck of evidence or grounds to remove the CBI Director.
  1. In its usual disingenuous and spin doctoring manner another fig leaf behind which Modiji and the Government is trying to hide is that of Justice Patnaik. It is completely forgotten that Justice Patnaik was a broad overall supervisor who has stated that he didn’t participate in the enquiry and that the findings/conclusions of the CVC Report are not his.
  1. Despite the above, it is highly regrettable that the Government is repeatedly using the shield of the CVC and indeed its shoulder to fire these politically motivated bullets at the CBI.

The CVC should have seen through this much earlier and not allowed such non conclusions and non-findings to be misused as if they are the conclusive, definitive views of some quasi judicial authority.

  1. If mere allegations, surmises, conjectures and the use of subjective adjectives will become the basis for the removal of statutory and Constitutional post holders then the most alarmed persons should be the PM and the President of the ruling party who have constantly maintained that absent adjudication of allegations or strong virtually irrefutable evidence, they would not step down.

Furthermore there is complete lack of equivalence and stark contrast between direct physical and documentary evidence of serious wrongdoing available in the case of Asthana including witnesses, FIRs and direct documentary evidence in contrast to the Verma case. It is significant that the Delhi High Court in a detailed judgment, just a short while ago today, rejected Asthana’s petition to quash the FIR against him and instead directed the CBI to proceed and complete its investigation in his regard.

 We are stunned that the CVC is practicing willful and Nelsonian blindness to such obvious facts.

  1. We all believe that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. But the BJP, the PM and the FM believe and act differently. They believe in discriminatory standards to be applied. For them, this vacuous and subjective CVC Report is not “a fishing and roving enquiry” but a case like Rafale, with humongous facts and documents, has been characterized by these 3 eminent persons to be a “fishing and roving enquiry”.

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