The Congress will organise protests outside offices of the Central Bureau of Investigation across the country on Friday seeking the reinstatement of ousted director Alok Verma, PTI reported. The party will also demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologise for “destroying the image of the premier investigating agency”.

Congress General Secretary Ashok Gehlot wrote to all party general secretaries and has asked them to hold protests against the Bharatiya Janata Party government. “An illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate removal of the CBI director by the Modi-Shah duo has shamed India and its premier investigative agency,” he wrote.

Gehlot alleged that the “terror of the Rafale scam led to the demolition of the CBI”. “Taking strong objections to this step by the government, Congress workers will demonstrate outside CBI offices and highlight the systemic denigration of institutions like the Reserve Bank of India, Enforcement Directorate, Central Vigilance Commission, Election Commission, Union Public Service Commission one after another by this BJP government,” he said.

Late on Tuesday, the Centre sent Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana on leave. The two officers are locked in a tussle and have accused each other of accepting bribes. On October 15, the CBI filed a First Information report against Asthana in this regard. The government appointed M Nageshwar Rao the interim director.

“As per the law, he [Verma] could be transferred only with the consent of the appointing authority [comprising the Chief Justice of India, the prime minister and the leader of opposition],” Gehlot said. “The prime minister should tender an apology to the nation for destroying the image of the premier investigating agency.”

Alok Verma has filed a petition in the Supreme Court contesting the Centre’s decision. The plea will be heard on Friday. Another petition in the Supreme Court, filed by an NGO, has sought an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team into the allegations of corruption against the CBI officials and challenged the removal of Verma and Asthana.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the CBI said that Verma and Asthana would remain in their positions, and Rao’s appointment as director was only an interim measure.