16 November 2018

The picture above shows from left to right Rakesh Asthana, Mr Modi and Alok Verma.

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has reportedly found no proof of CBI director Alok Verma accepting any bribes as alleged by his deputy Rakesh Asthana. However, the commission has fund some “administrative lapses” on the part of Alok Verma. Mr Asthana, Alok Verma’s deputy, accused Verma of taking bribes. Verma in turn accused Mr Asthana of taking bribes and was about to arrest Mr Asthana on corruption charges. Modi intervened and sent both Mr Verma and Asthana on compulsory leave. The Supreme Court ordered an investigations into the allegations against Verma.

Verma in his scathing official response alleged that despite the Supreme Court specifically directing the CVC to probe into the allegations made against him in the note/letter of the cabinet secretary dated 24 August, CVC did not raise even one question from the allegations mentioned in the letter. Instead they questioned him on actions taken after 24 October based on allegations mentioned by Mr Rakesh Asthana in his letter dated 18 October. This was after CBI had registered a case of extortion involving Mr Rakesh Asthana. By that time CBI had already arrested the main conduit, Manoj Prasad and had recorded the statement of Satish Sana, the businessman who allegedly paid around Rs 3 crore to Asthana. He also said that the CBI has incriminating evidence against Asthana in the form of WhatsApp messages, call intercepts and call detail records.

Verma questioned the integrity of CVC as an independent investigator and hinted at the support Asthana and central vigilance commissioner K.V. Chowdary may have got from the top official in the Prime Minister’s office.

The opposition Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleges that the government penalised Mr Verma because he was willing to investigate corruption allegations surrounding Prime Minister Modi’s Rafale jet deal. He also said that Mr Asthana, an officer from Gujarat was “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s blue-eyed boy”.

It now turns out that Mr Asthana has been telling lies. There seems to be some evidence for his taking bribes. CBI will have to prove this.

The CBI director, Verma, had also been resisting attempts by the ruling party leadership to arbitrarily use the CBI’s powers to raid opposition leaders as a tool of intimidation. Verma resisted raids on or the arrest of at least three opposition chief ministers. The Wire reported.

Rafale aircraft deal is a spot of blemish in the clean image of Modi. Instead of continuing with the CBI drama, he should allow a transparent and unbiased investigation into this deal.

Modi has abandoned his wife. He has no children. Therefore, there is no need for him to amass wealth. He only needs funds for election campaigns. Would Anil Ambani of the Reliance Group be a source of funds for future election campaigns? Ambani gets $2.734bn out of this deal. This is not a small amount.

Had Modi appointed the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the local collaborator of Dassault there would not have been any hints of corruption.