POLITICS

NSA Ajit Doval asked Alok Verma to not probe Rafale deal; he refused and was removed: Source

Alok Verma had started a preliminary enquiry in the Rafale deal and had even written a letter to Union Defence Secretary Sanjay Mishra, seeking some crucial files regarding it<i> </i>

Umakant Lakhera

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, on instructions from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), had personally asked Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Verma to withdraw his request to investigate the controversial ₹60,000 crore Rafale fighter jet deal, sources close to the benched CBI chief have confirmed.

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.

The benched CBI Director had also made up his mind to arrest Rakesh Asthana, who has reportedly been accused of being involved in an extortion racket during his time as top cop and obstructing investigations potentially adverse to Prime Minister Narendra Modi

He was benched within hours after refusing to cede to Doval's request, multiple sources in the CBI have told this correspondent. Asthana's allegations against Verma were just pretence to remove him, lest he investigated the Modi government.

Verma has challenged his dramatic midnight removal from CBI's top post by the Modi government in the Supreme Court.

The benched CBI Director had also made up his mind to arrest Rakesh Asthana, who has reportedly been accused of being involved in an extortion racket, transferring police funds to the BJP during his time as top cop and obstructing investigations potentially adverse to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among other allegations.

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