In a direct attack at the Modi government over the Central Bureau of Investigation's second in command Rakesh Asthana bribery case, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged that the premier investigation agency was being used as a 'weapon of political vendetta' and was on a 'terminal decline' and at 'war with itself'.
Taking to Twitter, the Congress scion cited a media report where Rakesh Asthana, CBI's second-in-command been booked for allegedly receiving bribe from an accused probed by him in a case linked to meat exporter Moin Qureshi -- a charge levelled by the officer on CBI Director Alok Verma in his complaint to the Cabinet Secretary two months ago.
"Under this PM, the CBI is a weapon of political vendetta. An institution in terminal decline that’s at war with itself," he said.
The Congress chief and his party has been attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the appointment of Asthana as CBI special director.
Earlier on Sunday, the Congress party said that the Centre should disclose everything and not interfere in the probe against Rakesh Asthana.
Speaking at a press briefing, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said he was being a little cautious but very crystal clear, equally, because he had only heard about the case from news reports and thus could not swear by the correctness of it at the moment.
"But I'm sure in a day or two, we will know the correct position. But let me say one thing, if even fractionally what you and I have read is true, then it is the most serious of serious things and remember, this is the same appointment which was heavily objected to at the time of appointment itself, inception itself.
"Can you imagine the so-called premier policing agency of this country is policed at number two position by a person whose entry is objected to, who is now found possibly, subject to verification of your report, to be part of a bribery FIR," said Singhvi when asked to comment on the issue.
He also quoted reports to say that Asthana was part of not one but five or six FIRs.
"It appears that his only reason to be present there is either that he comes from a particular geographical part of India which happens to be in the west of India or because his closeness to those who rule us, is famous. Is this real Indian democracy that we are talking about? Is this crony capitalism we are talking about? Is this arbitrariness we are talking about? I think that if a fraction of what you are saying is true, the government should disclose everything and stop interfering," he said.
The CBI registered the case FIR RC 13(A) of 2018 against Asthana on October 15 on the basis of a complaint from Satish Sana, facing probe in the 2017 case allegedly involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, alleging the officer had allegedly helped him to get a clean chit.
Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Asthana, who is heading the Special Investigating Team handling crucial cases such as AgustaWestland chopper scam and loan fraud by business tycoon Vijay Mallya. The team is also probing the Moin Qureshi case.