Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has demanded answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the action against Central Bureau of Investigation director Alok Verma without consulting other members of the panel that selected him.
In a strongly-worded letter to the prime minister, Kharge accused him of acting 'arbitrarily' and creating a 'false equivalence of charges' between the CBI director and his deputy Rakesh Asthana.
Kharge was part of a three-member panel headed by Modi that had selected Verma last year to head the CBI.
The then Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar was the other member of the selection committee.
He said that 'no meeting of the selection committee was convened to deliberate on this issue as prescribed under law'.
The Congress leader also accused Modi and his government of resorting to 'snooping' on Verma to 'cover-up' the Rafale 'scam'.
Kharge also alleged that while prime ministerial legacies are built by strengthening institutions, Modi's term will be remembered for the opposite.
'One must answer publicly as to what are the reasons behind this snooping? Is the PM trying to scare the dissenting voice of an officer and giving message of similar consequences to others? Or is the PMO scuttling the probe with the sole aim of preventing the truth of the reported corruption in the Rafale fighter jets purchase.
'Sir, prime ministerial legacies are built by strengthening institutions. Your term, it seems more and more likely will be remembered for the opposite,' he wrote in letter.
The Congress leader also said that in a country where official conduct is supposed to be above suspicions, "we are witnessing an embarrassing breakdown in the working of premier institutions'.
He further alleged that there was a 'pretence' to protect certain people and exclude others in an attempt to control the CBI, in violation of Supreme Court guidelines and the CBI Act.
"I am constrained to write this letter in light of the distressing events that have taken place over the last couple of days.
"The state of disarray and arbitrariness that has characterised the functioning of key institutions such as the Central Vigilance Commission, the Central Bureau of Investigation and above all, your own office is unprecedented in our nation's history," he said.
"The actions taken in early hours of the morning of October 24, 2018, in transferring the director and his entire team, amount to a grave violation of the law, the Supreme Court's clear directions on the subject and the Constitution of India," he also said.
These events are a poor reflection on your promised style of 'minimum government, maximum governance', he told the prime minister, adding that the latest development was extremely 'worrying and alarming'.
"The whole country watched on TV today while snooping and keeping surveillance on opposition and political opponents have been very basic nature of this government, but to meddle so blatantly in an ongoing explosive investigation will further erode the sanctity and trust that our police force and its officers have earned over the past 70 years," the letter said.
"Lastly, it would be a ridiculous misinterpretation of the law if the government admits that it cannot appoint, remove or transfer the Director, yet can ask him to sit at home and appoint someone else in his stead," Kharge said in his letter.