Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday attacked the government after the Central Bureau of Investigation named Special Director Rakesh Asthana, its second-in-command, in a bribery case. Gandhi called Asthana, who is a 1984-batch Gujarat cadre Indian Police Service officer, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “blue-eyed boy”.
“Under this PM, the CBI is a weapon of political vendetta,” Gandhi tweeted. “An institution in terminal decline that is at war with itself.”
The CBI official has been accused of accepting a Rs 2-crore bribe to scuttle an investigation into businessman Moin Qureshi, who is an accused in multiple corruption cases.
On Monday, media reports said Asthana has accused the agency’s Director Alok Verma and Joint Director Arun Kumar Sharma of trying to falsely implicate him in the Sterling Biotech loan default case. The Gujarat-based company allegedly defaulted on loans worth Rs 5,383 crore. It was also reported that Asthana had written to Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha in August, mentioning more than a dozen accusations against Alok Verma and other top officials at the agency.
The agency responded to one of the allegations late on Sunday, calling it false and malicious.
The Congress on Sunday asked the Centre to disclose everything in the case and not interfere in the investigation into Asthana. Party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi claimed the only reason Asthana was in the CBI was “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”.