The news that the CBI has acknowledged that it shared the status report pertaining to the Coalgate scam investigation with bureaucrats in the PMO and the Coal Ministry on the demand of the Law Minister (“Compromised Bureau of Investigation,” April 27) is not at all shocking, given the credibility of the agency in recent years. The acknowledgement exposes the insecurity of the political leadership and the agency’s subservient status to the government. The Supreme Court should take a serious note of the disregard shown to its authority.
It is clear that the CBI takes orders from Ministers concerned on investigations. Even a top-secret and high-profile affidavit to be presented to the highest court of the nation could not escape the eyes of the Law Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office. How can we ever believe that the CBI is an independent body?
A.V. Reddi Sastri,
The premier investigating agency does not enjoy a shred of autonomy, with the government of the day sparing no effort to keep it under its thumb. We only know that the status report was shared with officials of the Coal Ministry and the PMO but we do not know whether it was vetted, edited or modified.
If the CBI is to function as an effective watchdog, it should not only be given more teeth but should be out of bounds for government functionaries.
That politicians use the CBI to meet their ends is well known. The agency has been forced to admit it before the Supreme Court. The other classic example in which the CBI was misused by the political class is the Bofors scandal. True, the CBI needs to be admonished and revamped but blaming the agency alone will not suffice. As long as the CBI remains in the clutches of political executives, it will remain subservient to them. It should be made a constitutional body.
The CBI functions under the government. It is no surprise that it shared its status report on the Coalgate scam with the Law Minister and senior officials of the PMO. As a premier investigating agency, the CBI should be given more independence and working autonomy. It is a great opportunity for the Supreme Court to frame guidelines on the functioning of the CBI.