Ruling on narco-analysis a setback: CBI chief

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CBI Director Ashwani Kumar.
CBI Director Ashwani Kumar.

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Supreme Court's ruling on narco-analysis, brain-mapping and polygraph tests is a setback to scientific investigation, Central Bureau of Investigation Director Ashwani Kumar said on Saturday.

“According to us, it is a setback to forensic science and scientific investigation. We will respond after studying the judgment. The CBI has always taken the consent of the accused before conducting narco-analysis, brain-mapping and polygraph tests. Even after obtaining such consent, we seek the court's permission,” Mr. Kumar said, after inaugurating a workshop for journalists here.

The agency respected the judgment and would follow it “in letter and in spirit,” he said. Such tests were always conducted by experts.

(The Supreme Court recently ruled that the use of narco-analysis, brain-mapping and polygraph tests on accused, suspects and witnesses without their consent was unconstitutional and a violation of their right to privacy.)

Mr. Kumar said the government had sanctioned 71 new courts for the CBI, and this would help expeditious disposal of cases. Besides the existing courts, three special courts would come up in Chennai. These exclusive courts would conduct day-to-day proceedings and avoid unnecessary adjournments.

“We are registering 1,100 cases each year. Of the 760 cases that are sent to court, only 400 are disposed of. Every year, the number of pending trial cases is increasing by 300…we have about 9,000 cases pending in courts now. We have decided to hire advocates on a contract basis,” he said.

Asked how the CBI was coping with the increasing number of cases, Mr. Kumar said filling of the 700-plus vacancies in the agency would help expedite investigation. “In case we are given more work, the quality will naturally go down…our officers will be over-burdened. If the present trend continues, we will ask for more manpower, finance and other resources.”

Mr. Kumar maintained that the investigation in the spectrum deal would be held in an impartial, correct and legal manner.

The investigation would be confined to the allegations made in the First Information Report.

“We will not go by the views of individuals and the media. The CBI has registered a case and will not disclose anything till the investigation is over.”

The rate of conviction in the cases handled by the CBI was 65-70 per cent, and the credit went not only to courts for impartial adjudication but also to the witnesses who stood by their statements.

On the spurious drugs cases, Mr. Kumar said it was an organised crime involving inter-State gangs. “We feel a lot of spurious and adulterated medicines are there in the market. The CBI has decided to do cases that have an impact on common people. In the Medical Council of India case, 58 of the 100-odd complaints received from the public have been short-listed. We have done enough to attack systemic corruption at the source level.”

Opening the workshop, Mr. Kumar urged journalists to avoid media trial and stick to balanced, ethical and truthful reporting. The agency would focus more on inter-State and international economic offences.

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