The Central Vigilance Commission has sought response from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a complaint alleging tardy probe in select high profile corruption cases including of disproportionate assets charges against BSP supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Former BSF Director General Prakash Singh, on behalf of NGO India Rejuvenation Initiative (IRI) involving other eminent citizens, had in a letter to CBI Director Ranjit Sinha alleged that the investigating agency was “dragging its feet” in many cases.
“We are, however, dismayed with the functioning of the CBI in quite a few cases, in which the organisation has played it cool to the extent of dragging its feet. On the other hand, there have been cases where the organisation has been over enthusiastic.
“The unmistakable impression one gets is that the CBI interest in a particular case is directly proportional to the ruling party’s interest in the matter,” said the letter written on August 30.
It alleged, “If the government wants a case to remain in cold storage, the CBI ensures that. Conversely, if the government wants a case to be given acceleration, the CBI obliges accordingly. This is a very disturbing state of affairs.”
The letter cited the “varying” pace of investigation by the CBI in alleged disproportionate assets cases involving Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Tamil Nadu Chief Minsiter Jayalalithaa and railgate scandal involving Vijaya Singla, nephew of former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, besides the alleged Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case of Gujarat.
The complainants have also written to the Central Vigilance Commission, which exercises superintendence over the CBI to oversee probe in corruption cases, seeking its intervention.
Central Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar, in his response to Mr. Singh’s complaint, said that the allegations have brought “the credibility of CBI into question”.
“In the letter to Director, CBI you have conveyed your impression that CBI is accelerating the progress of some cases and slowing others on political considerations, thereby bringing the credibility of CBI into question. I have sought the comments of Director, CBI on your letter and will revert to you thereafter,” Mr. Kumar said.
In the alleged DA case involving Mulayam Singh Yadav, the complainant said it is more than eight months since the court directed the CBI to take such “independent action” as it may consider appropriate.
“It is surprising that there has been no follow up action. Actually, the Supreme Court’s directions were initially given on March 1, 2007. If we were to calculate from that date, more than six years have passed and the matter is still hanging fire,” Mr. Singh said in his letter.
The letter also cited the alleged railgate scandal involving payment of bribe for appointment in the Railway Board.
Vijaya Singla, nephew of the then Railway Minister, was caught in May allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 90 lakh to provide a plum posting on the Railway Board to an officer. The allegation was that the entire deal was for Rs 10 crore and that Rs 90 lakh was only the first instalment.
“The then Railway Minister, Pawan Bansal, has been made a prosecution witness in the case. It was a laughable move by the CBI. Even a probationary sub-inspector, with conscience, would not have given this benefit to a person who was, by all accounts, the principal beneficiary in the transaction,” it alleged.
Mr. Singh also said, “Your statement, which appeared in the media, that there was no evidence of Bansal taking money and that close proximity does not prove anything, was very unfortunate.”
Singh said it is not only the credibility of the CBI which is at stake but also the future of the country “in so far as it depends, to a fairly large extent, on whether the State gives appropriate treatment or not to people, howsoever highly placed, for their misuse of office and looting of public money and resources.”