CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose "hand-picked" Special CBI Director Rakesh Asthana was "caught red-handed" he said, as the probe agency registered a graft case against one of its own.
"The official patronised by the BJP and handpicked by Modi, was pushed into our premier investigation agency despite opposition to his entry only to subvert ongoing investigations and stop all cases against BJP leaders.
"He has now been caught red-handed," the Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary tweeted.
"Who patronised this official (Asthana) in his career? Who handpicked him for CBI despite strong opposition by the Director? If this official is now caught "fabricating" documents and taking bribes, should his political patrons in BJP not be asked tough questions too? What is their role," Yechury asked.
Asthana was brought to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2016 after the NDA came to power in 2014 and was tipped to head the agency.
Hailing from the Gujarat cadre, he had supervised the probe into the 2002 Godhra tragedy as Inspector General of Police, Vadodara range.
Asthana’s elevation to the top post had evoked sharp reactions from the opposition following which he made way for Alok Verma.
He further said a number of "compromised officials with dubious records" have been inducted into top agencies under the Modi regime.
"That is not just due to poor governance. But it is due to malafide intention to target political opposition and save their own under investigation," he said.
"That the CBI is particularly under the spotlight should not surprise us.
"After all, it was the agency investigating the Bharatiya Janata Party President (Amit Shah) for a very serious charge. No prizes for guessing how and why his name was ‘cleared’ under a dark cloud," he added.
The Left leader said the role of top BJP leadership in "damaging and destroying" the country’s institutions was unparalleled in India’s history.
"This is needed to further the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s unconstitutional agenda.
"Their nefarious designs have to be, and will be defeated," he said.
The CBI on October 15 registered an FIR against Asthana and several others for allegedly accepting bribes to settle a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, who is facing multiple cases of money laundering and corruption.>