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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday hit the streets in the capital along with leaders of his party and its allies on the Rafale issue demanding "reinstatement" of CBI Director Alok Verma and courted arrest after dubbing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a "chor" (thief). A right-hand man of U.N. Biswas, then joint director (east) heading a CBI team in 1996 to look into alleged embezzlement of Rs 900 crore, Asthana was instrumental in collating evidence against the powerful accused.

Walking in the front, Rahul Gandhi led hundreds of people who shouted slogans and carried placards and posters that criticised the government.

The court said that all decisions taken by Rao be placed before it in a sealed cover.

'Nothing will deter us in our quest to speak truth to power and exposing Modi govt's corruption, ' Congress said.

On the whole, while both sides may have bones to pick with the order, the Centre is likely to be more aggrieved, since Verma's chief grievance - the orders of the CVC and Centre - could still be easily addressed subsequently by the court. In extraordinary circumstances, the director can only be removed after an inquiry, which was not done in Verma's case.

After hearing several petitions, Supreme Court gave a sensational order and instructed temporary CBI director Mannem Nageswara Rao not to make any decisions till further orders.

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In an unprecedented move, the Central Bureau of Investigation divested Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana from their duties on Wednesday as the two hit out at each other over bribery accusations in the meat exporter Moin Qureshi money laundering case.

The court while giving the directions also sought the response of the Centre and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to Verma's petition challenging the Centre's order to divest him of his duties and send him on leave. The Congress had been protesting against the government action, claiming that it was prompted by government fear of a possible CBI inquiry into the Rafale deal.

The feud between the CBI's top two - Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana - escalated with each accusing the other of corruption.

Gandhi was leading a noisy protest over the government's action in CBI. Not only that the Centre has also diluted the powers of Enforcement Directorate and RBI.

Patnaik, as chief justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court, was also a member of "In-House committee" of the apex court that probed allegations against Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court. Nariman said the CBI director was appointed for a two-year tenure with the approval of a selection panel comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India.


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