This is not the first time that questions about the autonomy of the premier investigation agency have been raised (editorial, May 1). While various governments have misused the CBI, it is for the first time that the agency’s director, Ranjit Sinha, has spoken about the pressure it faces from the establishment. As he has rightly said, the agency is part of the system so it cannot work in isolation. The need of the hour is to bring in reforms and make it an independent body.
The fact that the CBI allowed the political executive to vet its status report in the coal scam probe is akin to a situation of a householder handing over the keys of the safe to a burglar.
Seshagiri Row Karry,
The cat has always been sitting pretty on the lap of the political executive for its existence. Only the common man continues to be hoodwinked. There has to be accountability right from the top. If not the Prime Minister, then the Attorney General, the Law Minister in particular, and other officials have to go. Unfortunately, in India, collective responsibility of the Cabinet system has never been practised.
Even the local paanwala knows that the CBI is a tool in the hands of the ruling party to threaten and fix its opponents. Instead of criticising the CBI Director, there has to be a change in the prevailing system. Political parties are least concerned about natural resources and the loss to the exchequer. They are only anxious to grab power.
The UPA government has been totally exposed on Coalgate. More than the government, it is a question of the personal probity of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. If the Law Minister, law officers and civil servants were not asked by him to call for and amend the CBI status report on Coalgate and they did so on their own, it is for him to sack the Law Minister and the Attorney General, suspend the bureaucrats in his office and the Coal Ministry and set up an inquiry without waiting for further judicial indictment.
Mr. Sinha’s uncharacteristic revelations have shifted the focus to more serious questions related to the erosion of the integrity and credibility of our constitutional bodies which together constitute the very foundation of our democracy. The legal sleight of hand and subterfuge surrounding Coalgate affords an opportunity to the honourable court to reflect on insulating our legal institutions from political interference. Dr. Singh needs to introspect on the need to throw the weight of his office behind justice rather than defend individual Ministers and officers.
That the CBI is the Compromised Bureau of Investigation is irrefutable. One can empathise with the agency and its head for being caught between the executive and the judiciary. Also, the agency faces attacks from the Opposition. We should blame the archer and not the arrow.
A grave mistake that members of our Constituent Assembly made was in not making the CBI a statutory, independent investigative agency. Now that the Supreme Court has expressed its displeasure, one waits to see what will happen.