The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is all set to post officials at the Indian missions in the UAE, the U.K. and the U.S. for vigorously pursuing matters relating to judicial requests for assistance in criminal investigations and execution of Letters Rogatory.
The CBI has about 250 Letters Rogatory pending for execution in various countries and has to depend upon the law enforcement agencies there for taking up its requests.
“In the U.K. alone, nearly 3,000 judicial requests from various countries are pending. If we have an officer who can pursue our cases, it will certainly result in speedy execution of our requests,” CBI Director A.P. Singh who demits office this month-end at the end of his two-year tenure told reporters here on Tuesday.
Mr. Singh said interactions with U.S. authorities revealed that a large number of such requests were pending with them and required initiative from the agency to pursue them for information about crimes.
He said the three countries had agreed in principle to the idea and soon DIG-level officers would be posted in Dubai, London and New York.
Carrying investigations abroad and execution of Letters Rogatory (LR) often impede the ongoing probe in any case, Mr. Singh said.
“Apart from manpower, there are certain functional constraints before us — which include delays in executing LR and delay in obtaining prosecution sanctions. LR is a tedious process, and to facilitate LR execution, posts of liaison officers in some key countries has been proposed,” he said.
He said there were several cases involving arms dealers and defence deals under probe, which require comprehensive investigation including execution of LRs. Several cases, including those related to 2G scam, Tatra-BEML, Aircel-Maxis, Satyam fraud and arms dealer Abhishek Verma, are also pending at various stages in several countries.
On queries about the loss figures in the 2G scam, Mr. Singh said the agency has not arrived at any figure. During his two-year tenure, the CBI investigated some big-ticket corruption scandals such as the 2G spectrum allocation, Commonwealth Games, Adarsh Society and coal block allocation.
Describing 2G scam as the “biggest one” during his stint as CBI chief, Mr. Singh said it was also one of the most complicated cases where monitoring by the Supreme Court had kept the agency on its toes. In the 2G charge sheet, the agency had given the loss figure of Rs. 30,000 crore as 3.5 times the indexed price of 2001. “It was a notional figure that this could have been the price,” Mr. Singh added.
Referring to the suggestion of the Parliamentary panel for constituting a collegium of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha for appointing CBI Director, Mr. Singh pointed out that the proposal was first mooted by the agency itself.
“This was proposed to ensure that future Directors are insulated from the allegation of being the choice of the government alone, even though the present selection is as per the procedure mandated by the Supreme Court and is absolutely fair and transparent,” Mr. Singh said.