Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Tuesday said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), often called the “Department of Dirty Tricks” and seen as government’s hatchet, was justifiably criticised for lack of sensitivity towards loss of reputation of senior bureaucrats in the name of needless enquiries.

“It (CBI) is often called DDT – meaning not dichloro-diphenyl-tricholoroethane, the colourless, tasteless, odourless insecticide it should be, but the Department of Dirty Tricks,” said Mr. Gandhi, while delivering the 15th D.P. Kohli Memorial Lecture titled “Eclipse at Noon: Shadows over India’s Conscience”. The event marked conclusion of the CBI’s year-long Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Mr. Gandhi said: “Talking of complicity (with an unscrupulous Executive), there is a temptation to bring down reputations of civil servants through unethical leaks to the media in real time during the course of investigations. This is despicable. If the Director and his deputies do not themselves get swayed by sensationalism, they can resist this temptation. They must realise that the author of today’s faucet leak can be the subject of tomorrow’s shower.”

Stating that this perception needs to be changed, Mr. Gandhi said the agency, being accountable to the Republic, should establish a partnership with the people.

“At present, the CBI and the people of India are poles apart. The CBI is clothed in opacity, then ornamented by secrecy and finally perfumed by mystery [] the triple wrappings of opacity, secrecy and mystery made it move to be taken out of the purview of the RTI Act. This is a great pity,” he said, adding that there were provisions under the Act for some aspects of the probe that needed protection from disclosure.

Advocating autonomy to the CBI, albeit under the Lok Pal, Mr. Gandhi said the CBI Director should be a phenomenal instrument, not a self-operating robot. “The standard politician does not and will never like an autonomous CBI.”

Hitting out at “corporate greed”, Mr. Gandhi said: “Corporate greed has crossed all bounds, as has corporate tastelessness. We used to talk of black money as a parallel economy and so it continues to be. But Reliance is a parallel State. I do not know of any country where one single firm exercises such power so brazenly, over the natural resources, financial resources, professional resources and, ultimately, over human resources as the company of the Ambanis. From Ambedkar who spoke of economic democracy, to Ambani who represents a techno-commercial monopoly of unprecedented scale, is a far cry indeed.”

“Yes, the mobile telephone is a fantastic asset. But while we make the calls, someone makes the money. 2G Spectrum is a description that arouses deep pride, and deep distrust,” said

Mr. Gandhi, also raising the issue of crimes against women, farmer suicides, custodial torture and timely judicial interventions.

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