The pri­mary ex­pec­ta­tion from any in­ves­ti­gat­ing agency is that it will con­duct in­ves­ti­ga­tions in a free, im­par­tial, ex­pe­di­tious and com­plete man­ner. It is a mat­ter of pride for CBI that it has been able to earn per­sis­tent trust of the courts, me­dia and pub

India Today - - UPFRONT - RAN­JIT SINHA An abridged ver­sion of the speech by CBI di­rec­tor Ran­jit Sinha at the In­dia To­day Con­clave 2014

Win­ning is a nat­u­ral yearn­ing for any hu­man be­ing and mankind has al­ways en­deav­oured to win in ev­ery walk of life. So­ci­etal and cul­tural norms also en­tail that such ef­forts are made in a man­ner that is law­ful, so­cially en­dorsable and in syn­ergy with so­cial good. When in­di­vid­ual de­sires are premised on a my­opic and self­ish ed­i­fice, such car­di­nal prin­ci­pals are of­ten lost sight of.

The same ethics are ap­pli­ca­ble to or­gan­i­sa­tions as well, while pur­su­ing their ob­jec­tives or goals. No or­gan­i­sa­tion should try to ex­cel or win at the cost of such core val­ues. We all are aware that dur­ing the last two decades, CBI has ac­quired a one-of-its-kind sta­tus. But through all the ac­co­lades and brick­bats, CBI has never com­pro­mised its prin­ci­pals and core val­ues—to do at all times what is morally cor­rect and legally ten­able. Ev­ery CBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion is placed and crit­i­cally tested be­fore the court of law and our con­sis­tent con­vic­tion rate of more than 67 per cent is a fair tes­ti­mony to the su­pe­ri­or­ity of our in­ves­ti­ga­tion and prose­cu­tion work. In case a court makes any ad­verse com­ments about the qual­ity of in­ves­ti­ga­tion or con­duct of an in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer, it is taken ex­tremely se­ri­ously in CBI, and such mat­ters are painstak­ingly ex­am­ined for ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion against ar­raigned or neg­li­gent CBI of­fi­cers. This is one of the best ways to en­sure in­sti­tu­tional in­tegrity so that the or­gan­i­sa­tion can be in­su­lated from po­lit­i­cal ma­nip­u­la­tions.

The pri­mary ex­pec­ta­tion from any in­ves­ti­gat­ing agency is that it will con­duct in­ves­ti­ga­tions in a free, im­par­tial, ex­pe­di­tious and com­plete man­ner. It is a mat­ter of pro­found sat­is­fac­tion for CBI that for more than 50 years, it has been able to earn per­sis­tent trust and con­fi­dence of the courts, the me­dia and the pub­lic at large. The sit­u­a­tion is such to­day that in any im­por­tant mat­ter or scam, there is grow­ing de­mand from all quar­ters to re­fer the mat­ter to CBI for an in-depth and fair in­ves­ti­ga­tion. It is also a mat­ter of record that the in­ves­ti­ga­tions of nu­mer­ous com­pli­cated cases and scams have, at times, meant CBI tak­ing a stand which has been against pre­vail­ing pub­lic opin­ion and against those in pos­ses­sion of author­ity. Such a rep­u­ta­tion of CBI has been built over the years due to out­stand­ing pro­fes­sional work.

The bureau’s core com­pe­tence is that it col­lec­tively ex­em­pli­fies and sym­bol­ises the Voltairian spirit that even if its of­fi­cers may, on oc­ca­sion, dis­agree, they nev­er­the­less up­hold the right of oth­ers not to agree with them. It is this en­vi­ron­ment that acts as pivot, nur­tures pro­fes­sion­al­ism in the or­gan­i­sa­tion, and places us a notch above the rest of the in­ves­ti­gat­ing agencies in In­dia.

So far as po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence in CBI in­ves­ti­ga­tions is con­cerned, these are ba­si­cally in­ter­ven­tions, and it en­ables us to have a prag­matic and com­plete view of the mat­ter un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. It also de­pends upon the in­di­vid­ual or the or­gan­i­sa­tion as to how such in­ter­ven­tions are taken. Lis­ten­ing to all con­cerned, in­clud­ing the ac­cused or sus­pects, is al­ways in the in­ter­est of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, and it is in fact one of the car­di­nal prin­ci­ples of nat­u­ral jus­tice.

Re­cent poli­cies of CBI have sought to re­make the or­gan­i­sa­tion as a sig­nif­i­cantly ef­fi­ca­cious and ef­fi­cient anti-cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­gat­ing agency. CBI has also tried to up­grade it­self for the needs and de­mands of a new and vi­brant In­dia. In or­der to sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­ute in the se­ri­ous area of hu­man traf­fick­ing and crime against women and chil­dren, we have started anti-hu­man traf­fick­ing units in the CBI. Oc­ca­sion­ally, CBI has been ac­cused of do­ing all pos­si­ble wrong things, from favour­ing the ac­cused to tow­ing the lines of our po­lit­i­cal masters. How­ever, we work in a pro­fes­sional and fair man­ner. Each of­fi­cer has full free­dom to ex­press his views. CBI is com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing pro­pri­ety and hu­man dig­nity by prac­tic­ing sci­en­tific and painstak­ing ques­tion­ing or in­ter­ro­ga­tion rather than re­sort­ing to short cuts. We re­main within the law while in­ter­ro­gat­ing the ac­cused or elic­it­ing in­for­ma­tion from the wit­nesses, since means are as im­por­tant as the ends.

There is an ur­gent need for all in­ves­ti­gat­ing agencies, in­clud­ing CBI, to fo­cus on pro­vid­ing fair, timely and com­plete in­ves­ti­ga­tions so as to curb and ef­fec­tively tackle the men­ace of cor­rup­tion, which has spread like a vir­u­lent epi­demic, as well as other crimes in the coun­try. We also need to be ex­tra sen­si­tive and ex­hibit deft han­dling while deal­ing with crimes against women and chil­dren. We need more ed­u­cated de­bate on all the rel­e­vant is­sues.

Il­lus­tra­tion by SAU­RABH SINGH

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