Will CBI’s Fu­ture Get Modi-fied?

With many high-pro­file cases hang­ing fire and deep di­vi­sions within the coun­try’s main in­ves­tiga­tive agency on the fate of prom­i­nent cases like coal al­lo­ca­tion scam, CBI's ap­proach un­der a new po­lit­i­cal dis­pen­sa­tion would be closely watched

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - AMAN SHARMA

“What has a change in the govern­ment got to do with the Cen­tral Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion?” Sit­ting in his North Block of­fice, CBI Di­rec­tor Ran­jit Sinha asks, ap­par­ently aghast at the ques­tion on whether the agency will be chang­ing its colours un­der a pos­si­bly new BJP govern­ment. Cas­ti­gated by the Supreme Court as a “caged par­rot” and la­belled by the BJP in the last decade as the “Congress Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion,” such a per­cep­tion does not seem com­pletely mis­placed. “It is per­haps due to the bad pub­lic image that it is felt that the CBI toes the line of the govern­ment in power. But that’s not the case; we are an­swer­able only to the court of law,” Sinha tells ET. But with many high-pro­file cases hang­ing fire and deep di­vi­sions within the CBI hi­er­ar­chy on the fate of prom­i­nent cases like the coal al­lo­ca­tion scam and the Air­cel-Maxis mat­ter get­ting ex­posed, CBI's ap­proach in these mat­ters un­der a likely new po­lit­i­cal dis­pen­sa­tion would be closely watched. ET takes a look. closed by the agency. A CBI in­ves­ti­ga­tor has al­ready rec­om­mended -- on record -- to ex­am­ine Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh in the mat­ter, to which the CBI boss has not ac­ceded so far. Will the agency reach Singh's doorstep af­ter he steps down as PM? There is no chargesheet in the big scam in the pur­chase of VVIP chop­pers de­spite a CBI probe stretch­ing for over a year now; CBI top of­fi­cials are say­ing no money trail of the kick­backs has been traced, mak­ing any charges un­likely as of now. But a par­al­lel trial in Italy has thrown up some sen­sa­tional rev­e­la­tions, in­clud­ing an un­ver­i­fied doc­u­ment point­ing to names like So­nia Gandhi and her po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sor, Ahmed Pa­tel. CBI has so far main­tained that it has not found any links of the scam to any In­dian politi­cians and has only booked a for­mer Air Chief in the FIR. But some high-pro­file per­son­al­i­ties like CAG Shashikant Sharma have been ques­tioned, and Gover­nor BV Wan­choo and MK Narayanan will be quizzed too.

Mayawati DA Case

Ahead of July 15, when the Supreme Court will hear why the CBI did not lodge a fresh FIR for dis­pro­por­tion­ate as­sets against BSP leader Mayawati, the agency had filed an af­fi­davit be­fore the Supreme Court on April 30 say­ing there’s no fresh ma­te­rial avail­able with it to file a new FIR and the ear­lier probe ma­te­rial col­lected by it “no longer ex­ists as ev­i­dence” as the apex court had quashed its orig­i­nal FIR in the DA case. This is a big re­lief for May- awati who had been grap­pling with the case for a decade now and has ear­lier blamed the NDA govern­ment for foist­ing the case on her. All eyes will be on the SC on July 15 to see whether it will ac­cept the CBI's con­tention. CBI has given Naren­dra Modi's man Fri­day, Amit Shah, a clean chit in the Ishrat Ja­han fake en­counter case, telling a court in Ahmedabad re­cently that there’s no suf­fi­cient pros- ecutable ev­i­dence against him. But CBI’s charges against Shah in the Sohrabud­din and Tul­siram Pra­jap­ati fake en­counter cases are still hang­ing fire. A spe­cial CBI court is still to frame charges on count of mur­der and crim­i­nal con­spir­acy in both mat­ters against Shah who has mean­while filed a pe­ti­tion in court ask­ing him to be dis­charged from both cases for want of ev­i­dence. Top BJP leader Arun Jait­ley has said that CBI's charge sheet in this mat­ter is “un­sus­tain­able”. CBI has so far main­tained that it will back its case against Shah in the court. The court's fi­nal view on this could be known as early as the end of May. The en­tire CBI probe team, in­clud­ing its Di­rec­tor of Pros­e­cu­tion, wants DMK politi­cian and for­mer Union Telecom Min­is­ter Dayanidhi Maran to be charged in the Air­cel-Maxis case, but CBI Di­rec­tor Ran­jit Sinha over­ruled them and sent the mat­ter for le­gal opin­ion to the At­tor­ney Gen­eral (AG) say­ing the ev­i­dence does not seem enough for a charge sheet. The Supreme Court has now posted the mat­ter for Au­gust when the opin­ion of the AG will be known. Sinha told ET that he “merely ex­er­cised his right” of re­fer­ring the mat­ter for le­gal opin­ion.“Dif­fer­ence of opin­ion within the CBI team is the strength of the or­gan­i­sa­tion as it gives ev­ery of­fi­cer the free­dom to record his opin­ion. The un­for­tu­nate part is when such in­ter­nal not­ings get leaked,” Sinha says.

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