Misuse of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to suit the interests of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has set a dangerous precedent for Indian democracy and its federal structure, said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Arun Jaitley here on Saturday. Mr. Jaitley's remarks come in the wake of the arrest of former Gujarat Minister of State for Home Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

Speaking at a symposium on ‘Federalism, Law and Order and Vote Bank Politics,' the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said, “Law and order is a State subject. The CBI can investigate only Central cases or State cases with the permission of the State. However, this does not [seem] to apply to the judiciary. The decision, [asking] the CBI to investigate State cases has set a [bad] example for the country's politics. It is destroying the federal structure of our Constitution.”

In the Sohrabuddin case, the Supreme Court had directed the CBI to take up the investigation. Mr. Jaitley alleged that the charge sheet against Mr. Shah gave a very different account than what was said by investigating agencies five years ago.

He said the CBI was used as a tool to manipulate votes when the United Progressive Alliance's majority was tested in 2008 over the issue of the India-United States nuclear deal, and this year during the cut motion.

Blaming the media for running planted stories, Mr. Jaitley remarked, “The media have become stenographers of the investigation agencies,” often manufacturing news in a bid to stay competitive.

Mr. Jaitley also criticised human rights groups and Maoist-sympathisers, terming them as “pseudo-secularists”, and said they were “the over-ground face of underground movements.”

“We are in a world where there is tyranny of the unelected and the unelectable. They [public intellectuals] cannot win an election and we call them civil society?”

Accusing the Centre of practising vote-bank politics, Mr. Jaitely said, “It is a misconception that undemocratic acts like these would result in political gains.”

BJP leader Gopinath Munde said that during his term as Maharashtra Home Minister the State had seen the largest number of encounters. “I was lucky that there was no case against me, but there are cases against the police officers. The police have the right to self-defence,” he argued.

Former Director-General of Punjab Police K.P.S. Gill also decried the human rights movements following his crackdown of the Punjab insurgency.

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