Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge wrote to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday, a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party leader criticised him for making the appointment of the Central Bureau of Investigation director look like a political battle, PTI reported.
In a blog post, Jaitley had criticised the Congress leader in the Lok Sabha of failing to leave his “political colour” while on a panel to select the CBI director, and bringing down “the value of dissent”.
On February 2, Kharge had objected to the appointment of former Madhya Pradesh Police chief Rishi Kumar Shukla as the new CBI chief, and reportedly said in a dissent note to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the officer lacks experience in working in anti-corruption investigations. Shukla took charge of the investigating agency on Monday.
In a two-page letter to Jaitley, Kharge said he had objected to the government allegedly flouting procedure and not Shukla’s integrity. The Congress leader said he “is pained to say the value of the prime minister’s office has been brought down” by the way the government’s conduct in the matter of the CBI director’s appointment.
Kharge pointed out that Jaitley had penned “the strongest dissent note” against the CBI and its functioning after which the agency transferred its officers and stopped investigations. This was an apparent reference to the minister’s remarks about the CBI investigation into former ICICI bank Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar and her husband. The finance minister had chided the investigating agency after it filed an FIR against Kochhar, saying it should concentrate on the bull’s eye and not indulge in “investigative adventurism”.
Kharge also expressed the hope that Shukla’s “lack of experience” in the CBI would not hamper his ability to rebuild institution “this government has destroyed”.