New Delhi, Feb 4: Responding to Union Minister Arun Jaitley’s charge against him of ‘misusing’ the power of dissent as a member of the high powered committee for the appointment of CBI chief , leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has said that the conduct of the NDA Government in the matter of selection of the post has brought down the value of the Prime Minister’s office.
In a letter to Mr Jaitley, Mr Kharge , defending his dissent note on the selection of the CBI chief, said,’’going by the way the Government has conducted itself in the matter of appointment of the CBI director, particularly the way justice Patnaik’s report was suppressed and courts have been misguided regarding the appointment of the interim director of the CBI, I am pained to say the value of the prime Minister’s office has been brought down.’’
Responding to Mr Jaitley’s charges that he had ‘misused’ the power of dissent, Mr Kharge said while in the appointment of Mr Alok verma as CBi director, the Governmentt had violated section 4A(3)a of the DSPE Act, the removal of verma was done in violation of the section 4B(2) of the DSPE Act. He said appointment of the new CBI director Rishi Shukla violates section 4A (3)a of the DPSE Act.
‘’The appointment of Mr Alok Verma in 2017 did not completely satisfy the conditions under section 4A(3)a of the DSPE Act since he did not have any experience of investigation in anti-corruption cases. The Government chose to appoint a person who did not have any experience of serving in CBI, as director and the nation saw how infighting within the CBI caused an irreparable damage to the institution. My objection to removal of Mr Verma was that it was done in violation of the section 4B(2) of the DSPE Act. This was upheld by the Supreme court .
My most recent dissent note, which has triggered your article also points out that the person who has been appointed as the director, CBI has no experience of investigation in anti-corruption cases as per the data provided by the government . This once against violates Section 4A(3)a of the DSPE Act which explicitly calls for an officer to have experience in investigating anti-corruption cases ,’’Mr Kharge said.
Mr Kharge said the fact that Jaitley chose to respond from halfway across the world indicated something worries the Government.
‘’You ask-‘Has Mr Kharge brought down the value of dissent?” By asking difficult questions repeatedly, the value of the questions raised doesn’t come down. The fact that you chose to respond from halfway across the world indicates something worries the Government.
In fact the strongest dissent note against the CBI and its functioning has been penned by you last week in the matter in which bank frauds were being investigated. I commend you for your honesty. The CBI took your note seriously enough to transfer officers and stop investigations. But the dissent notes sent by me to the Prime Minister do not even get a response from him,’’Mr Kharge said.
Wishing the new director well, Mr Kharge expressed the hope that his lack of experience in the CBI would not hamper his ability to rebuild the institution “that this Government has destroyed”.
Mr Kharge pointed out that his objections were always on the procedure of appointment and never against any officer or his integrity.
‘’Once an officer has been appointed to serve in a particular office, I do not believe we should continue to comment on them and I have not done that at any point of time in my near five decades of public service,’’Mr Kharge said.
Union Minister and BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Sunday lashed out at the Congress floor leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge for abusing the power of 'dissent' in the Collegium for appointment of CBI chief and said the right to give such a note should never be made a 'political tool'.
Mr Jaitley also said - "Mr Kharge was a petitioner in the Supreme Court himself in support of Alok Verma. "He should have recused himself from the Committee since his views were known. He suffered from a bias and conflict of interest. Yet he did not recuse himself," wrote the Union Minister.
"A dissent should never be a political tool," wrote Mr Jaitley in a blog posted on Facebook from the United States where he is undergoing treatment.
"Dissents are a powerful instrument in democracy. ......The right to dissent is sacrosanct and has to be sparingly used," he wrote adding - "If a dissenter dissents on every conceivable occasion he comes out as a person either motivated by collateral reasons or as a person lacking objectivity". (UNI)