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Alok Verma Punished for Probing Rafale Scam, Says Rahul Gandhi in Rajasthan Rally


New Delhi: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday lashed out at the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing the government of sending Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Verma “on leave” as punishment for wanting to probe the alleged scam in the purchase of Rafale aircraft from France.

Gandhi, who was speaking at an election rally in Rajasthan’s Jhalawar, said, “What has the country’s chowkidar (watchman) done in the CBI? The CBI chief asked for documents related to Rafale. For the last 70 years, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has served the nation. The aircraft that bombarded the enemy in the wars against Pakistan were built by HAL. It does not owe a single rupee in debt. Despite this, the contract for Rafale was not given to HAL.”

The Congress president also took the offensive against the government to social media when he tweeted, “CBI Chief Alok Verma was collecting documents related to the Rafale deal. He was sent on leave on purpose. The Prime Minister’s message is very clear. Whoever comes even close to Rafale will be removed and will be obliterated.”

Rahul Gandhi also attacked the state government’s record of governance. “The government waives off loans worth several thousand crores to big industrialists and absconders, but won’t pay full price to garlic farmers. The state government closed 25,000 schools in Rajasthan. Government employees across the state have been protesting. Out of 14 government colleges in the state, only two have principals. The situation was very different when (Congress leader) Ashok Gehlot was Chief Minister. The people of the state used to get free medicine then,” he said.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear on October 26 the plea of CBI director Alok Verma challenging the Centre’s decision to divest him of powers and send him on leave in view of the internal feud between him and special director Rakesh Asthana.

As per a government order, CBI joint director M Nageshwar Rao has been given the charge of interim director of the investigating agency with immediate effect.

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