Kerala move against CBI draws fire

Governor P.Sathasivam CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran   | Photo Credit: S. GOPAKUMAR

A purported move by the government to withdraw the general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to operate in its territory appears to have become an irritant in the State’s arguably fraught relationship with the Centre.

If implemented, Kerala will join a line-up of non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled States — West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra — to ban the agency from launching investigations on its own and functioning in their respective jurisdiction without the explicit consent of the provincial government.

BJP’s charge

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan had on Saturday decried the government’s reported plan. The State government wanted to fend off the CBI to cover up high-level corruption and save top leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) from being investigated for recurrent political murders in northern Kerala, he said.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) would oppose the move.

He said the Left Democratic Front wanted to conceal cases of corruption and other high crimes, including playing second fiddle to gold smugglers.

Kerala move against CBI draws fire

State secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI) Kanam Rajendran said the Central government had without compunction used the CBI to destabilise non-BJP ruled States, and Kerala was no exception. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) was aware of the plot to use the central law enforcement agency to discredit the government in an election year.

The CPI had on October 23 requested the LDF to recommend to the government to withdraw the free run accorded to the CBI under the provisions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act. It clearly states that law and order and crime investigation are State subjects.

The CPI(M) had on Friday formally requested the government to explore legal options to restrain the CBI from acting on its own volition in Kerala.

The CBI could probe local cases or chargesheet suspects only with the permission of the State administration. The agency cannot act on its own accord even in cases involving scheduled offences, it said.

The CBI would not require the consent of the State government only in investigations ordered by the Supreme Court or the High Court, the party felt.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 9:20:23 AM |

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