New Delhi: Reacting to the CBI reshuffle, finance minister Arun Jaitley said, “To maintain the institutional integrity of CBI and in the interest of fairness, purely as an interim measure, they will sit out by going on leave. An SIT not functioning under either of these officers will investigate. This is in accordance with the highest standards of fairness."

Opposition parties on Wednesday slammed the government for CBI Director Alok Verma's removal amid an escalating feud between him and his deputy Rakesh Asthana, with the Congress dubbing it the "last nail" in the agency's independence and the CPI(M) calling it illegal.

Here’s what the Opposition had to say:

“What we are witnessing is unfortunate. It is a complete paralysation of institutions like the CBI. Direct intervention by the PMO has led to this, where his preferred candidate was chosen, disregarding seniority.”

- CPM polit bureau member Brinda Karat

“Institution after institution is being destroyed to suit the political goal of a party. The BJP has pressed the panic button. From the Election Commission to the CBI – everything is being turned into a political tool by the current dispensation.”

- Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan

Also read: CBI overhaul: 16 changes rock agency after Verma-Asthana feud, AK Bassi probing Asthana case transferred

"CBI has now become so called BBI ( BJP Bureau of Investigation ) - very unfortunate!"

- TMC chief Mamata Banerjee

 "Modi government buries the 'last nail' into the independence of CBI. Systematic dismantling and denigrating of CBI are now complete. Once a premier investigating agency, PM ensures that CBI's integrity, credibility, and reliability is buried and dead" 

"PM Modi has demonstrated the true colour of his infamous Modi Made Gujarat Model' by this cloak-and-dagger mugging of CBI. Has the CBI Director been sacked for his keenness to probe the layers of corruption in Rafale Scam? Isn't the rest a shoddy cover-up? Let PM answer!" 

- Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala

Also read: CBI vs CBI: Alok Verma moves Supreme Court after govt sends warring chief, deputy on leave

“The illegal removal of CBI Chief by Modi government to protect their own handpicked officer, against whom serious charges of corruption are being investigated, points to attempts at a serious cover-up to protect his direct links to the BJP's top political leadership.”

"To ensure that the CBI is not a 'caged parrot', the Supreme Court had granted protection to its chief from government’s whims and fancies by giving him a two-year tenure. What is Modi government trying to hide by its panic move?"

- CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury

"What are the reasons for sending CBI director on leave? Under which law did the Modi govt get the authority to initiate action against the chief of an investigating agency appointed as per the Lokpal Act? What is Modi govt trying to hide?" 

- Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal