The Congress on Sunday demanded the removal of Chief Vigilance Commissioner KV Chowdary, alleging that he had acted “like a puppet” in the hands of the government in the row surrounding the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi accused the vigilance commissioner of being a “collaborator for violating the Constitution”. “It is clear that the CVC is acting as an ambassador for [Rakesh] Asthana, it is clear that he is acting as an agent and messenger for the government, to do whatever hatchet jobs,” Singhvi said at a press conference in Delhi.
The Congress party’s demands came on the same day as reports said that former CBI chief Alok Verma in his formal submission to former Supreme Court Justice AK Patnaik, who was assigned to supervise the Central Vigilance Commission inquiry against Verma, said that Chowdary had visited him on October 6 as an arbitrator for then CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana.
“It is clear that after acting as an ambassador, after lobbying for Asthana, doing advocacy for Asthana, the CVC is writing a report which is the entire basis for the committee’s decision,” Singhvi said. Asthana and Verma had been sent on leave pending an investigation on October 24.
Verma was later removed as CBI director on January 10 after a selection committee meeting headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, two days after the Supreme Court had reinstated him. The selection committee meeting took into account the CVC inquiry report, which levelled eight counts of charges against Verma, including corruption and dereliction of duty.
Singhvi said the vigilance commissioner had become a “vigilant slave” of the government. “None except the top two people in this country, who rule this country dictatorially, can claim the power to treat and make the CVC act like a puppet, and these master puppeteers can only be doing it to hide something,” Singhvi said.
Singhvi called the CVC inquiry report a “hatchet job” that Chowdary compiled at the government’s behest. Singhvi said the Supreme Court had set aside the report on the grounds that only the selection committee can decide the removal of the CBI chief. “But the same report is used by the committee to set aside the tenure of Verma,” Singhvi said.