Subodh Kumar Jaiswal | The chief investigator

A host of high-profile corruption cases are awaiting the new CBI Director

Updated - May 30, 2021 02:06 pm IST

Published - May 30, 2021 12:45 am IST

Illustration: J.A. Premkumar

Illustration: J.A. Premkumar

After taking charge as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director on May 26, Subodh Kumar Jaiswal has been busy holding back-to-back meetings with senior officials of various departments to get a feel of the challenges lying ahead of him over the next two years. This is his first stint with the agency. Mr. Jaiswal is the second officer from the Maharashtra cadre to head the CBI after Mohan Ganesh Katre, who held the post from February 1985 to October 1989.

Born on September 22, 1962, Mr. Jaiswal completed his schooling in Dhanbad, which is now in Jharkhand. He completed graduation in English from DAV College in Chandigarh and Master's in Business Administration from Panjab University, before clearing the UPSC examination at the age of 23 in 1985.

Mr. Jaiswal had served as Superintendent of Police in Gadchiroli, Aurangabad and Osmanabad, and supervised several anti-naxal operations. He subsequently held the posts of Deputy Inspector-General in-charge of a Special Investigation Team, Additional Commissioner of Police (Anti-Terrorism Squad, Mumbai) and Inspector-General of Police (Amravati Range).

Mr. Jaiswal spent 16 years in Central deputation. He served the Close Protection Teams of the Prime Minister during his six-year tenure with the elite Special Protection Group (SPG). He also worked with the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) in various capacities from June 2008 to 2018. He rejoined the Maharashtra Police and was appointed as Mumbai Police Commissioner in July 2018 and then the State Police chief in February 2019.

During the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, Mr. Jaiswal differed with the political dispensation on the issue of transfer and postings. He sought a no-objection from the State government for another Central deputation and then took over as the Director-General of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on January 8, 2021.

Limiting factor

While Mr. Jaiswal comes with a unique blend of experience in the fields of spycraft, administration and investigation, many see his long deputation with agencies like the SPG and the RAW as a limiting factor when it comes to the CBI’s functioning. “Yes, he headed the special investigation team which was constituted in 2003 to probe the Telgi fake stamp paper scam; that case was later transferred to the CBI. He has also supervised probe in terror-related cases. But he doesn’t have enough experience in cases of corruption and bank fraud, which are the primary offences investigated by the CBI,” said a retired CBI official.

In 2020, the CBI’s various divisions had registered about 200 bank fraud cases involving more than ₹67,000 crore. It is pursuing high-profile cases against fugitives like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Winsome Diamonds group’s Jatin Mehta. In more than 70 FIRs, the misappropriated amount exceeded ₹100 crore. Then there are cases related to the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput and corruption charges against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.

In a large number of cases, domain knowledge is required for efficient supervision. Therefore, the CBI chief has to be open to seeking expert opinion. “A majority of the important cases land up at the Director's table for a range of decisions, like who all to prosecute, while the others get decided at the level of DIG or IG. The Director should be able to scrutinise the investigation reports within a short span of time and also ensure through his immediate deputies that the investigation is conducted objectively, professionally and concluded in a time-bound manner,” said retired IPS officer Navneet R. Wasan, who had served the CBI as a joint director.

As the CBI chief, Mr. Jaiswal would be required to coordinate with the legal wing to ensure that prosecutions are done properly. In order to address the quality manpower issue, he would have to persuade capable officers to join the agency on deputation and, at the same time, also get the process of their appointments expedited. Another key responsibility of Mr. Jaiswal would be to strengthen international cooperation for cases involving cross-border crimes and pending extradition/deportation requests. However, right now, the most important task at hand would be to quickly build a team he can reply upon.

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