Is Alok Verma removed after refusing to put off Rafale probe ?

Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s clliam that CBI director Alok Verma was sent on leave in a mid-night operation, after his refusal to put off his probe into Rafale deal.

A sensational story was published by Congress party’s journal National Herald alleging that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, on instructions from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), had personally asked Alok Verma to withdraw his request to investigate the controversial Rs 60,000 crore Rafale fighter jet deal, sources close to the benched CBI chief have confirmed.

It further said that it has been reliably learnt that Alok Verma had started a preliminary enquiry in the Rafale deal and had even written a letter to Union Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, seeking some crucial files of the 36-fighter jet deal between India and France.

The news of Verma’s letter to the defence secretary had created a panic within the PMO and NSA Ajit Doval was sent as an emissary to put pressure on Verma to retract his letter. He was benched within hours after refusing to cede to Doval’s request, multiple sources in the CBI have told this correspondent.

Incidentally, Verma is said to be very close to Ajit Doval, who was responsible to bring him as CBI director, two years ago. At that time his appointment was strongly opposed by Congress party, which is not protesting his removal. Till Rakesh Asthana, who is said to be close to PMO, entered CBI and started to dominate his boss, Verma was considered to be `blue eyed boy’ of PMO too.

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