Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the environment in Indian universities and national institutions, like the Central Bureau of Investigation, is being vitiated under the Narendra Modi-led government, PTI reported.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government has come under attack after it sent CBI’s top two officials – Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana – on leave late on Tuesday. It appointed M Nageshwar Rao as the interim director. The Congress on Friday held nationwide protests demanding Verma’s reinstatement while the CBI director moved the Supreme Court against his removal.

Singh, speaking in New Delhi at the launch of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s book The Paradoxical Prime Minister, likened Modi to a paradoxical prime minister. “He [Modi] has spoken of being a prime minister for all Indians but he... presides over and has mostly been silent in the face of widespread communal violence, mob lynching and cow vigilantism,” Singh said.

Singh accused Modi of failing the electorate and eroding voters’ faith during the four years of his governance. The former prime minister said Modi had done nothing concrete on the economic front to bring back billions of rupees held abroad as black money. “A hastily implemented demonetisation and GST [Goods and Services Tax] have proved to be disastrous for economy,” he added.

He further said: “Petrol and diesel prices are at historic high despite the fall in international crude oil prices because the Modi government chose to levy excessive excise duty instead of passing on the benefit of the low prices to the people of India,” he said.

The government under Modi had achieved “nothing more than a series of empty gestures”, alleged Singh.