CBI’s forgiveness requires a complete disclosure of how the offence occurred. A serious offence described below cannot be forgiven below without a full disclosure of how it happened.
It’s been raining brickbats on the CBI, what is popularly known as the nation’s premier investigation agency of the country, also popularly known as the ‘caged parrot’, the criminal bureau of investigation, and a host of other unflattering sobriquets.
First, there was this terrible case which made national headlines, of the CBI team in Bhubaneswar, all set to execute a search warrant on a sitting Judge of the Odisha High Court, when in fact the warrant was meant for another person. This was a scandal in itself, which showed the scant care and attention the CBI officials were taking, even when barging into the house of a sitting High Court Judge. This incident came to light only because the person involved had the status of a High Court Judge and it caught the nation’s attention. Had this happened to a member of the common public, it would have just gone unnoticed.
We do not know till this day who were the CBI officers who abused their authority so recklessly, and what action has been taken on them for their abuse of power. Why is this being kept as a state secret? All we could gather from the newspapers of 14-10-2017 is that, “The CBI on Friday told the Supreme Court that it is ready to apologize to Odisha High Court judge CR Dash for trying to raid his house last month by mistake. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted before a bench led by Justice AK Sikri that the CBI wanted to give a closure to this incident by unconditionally apologizing to the High Court judge.”
I wonder why the CBI have not informed the public of what action it has taken against the errant CBI officers who abused their authority in such a cavalier manner. Perhaps, they couldn’t care less, as it is quite becoming clearer each day that the present Government is relying heavily on the CBI to maintain itself in power, and using it as a state weapon to attack its political opponents or keep them in check. The CBI knows this, and therefore believes it can get away with murder under the present regime. How else does one explain such utter carelessness, callousness and abuse of power, in the performance of its duties, as they have done in the case of the Odisha High Court Judge?
Finally, I think it was the Allahabad High Court judgment on the Arushi murder case that exposed them with a judgment which they richly deserved, which informed the people of India conclusively, of the kind of illegal methods they use for investigation, after falsification of evidence and distortion of truth. This judgment clearly lists out the CBI’s criminal offences of tampering with forensic evidence, tutoring of witnesses, planting witnesses, and suppressing evidence critical to the case.
The CBI should hang their head in shame over this indictment. Can anything be more damaging to the credentials of our country’s premier investigation agency?
But here again, it’s a win win situation for the CBI. The CBI fights its case, straight or false, using the tax payers money, unlike the accused. Its potential to harass and conceal information is legend, again all at the expense of the tax payer. Its capacity to appeal any order of the trial or High Court, to protect its errant investigating officers from defamation is unlimited, with all legal and logistical support provided by the tax payer’s money.
I have already written in my blog of 25-2 17, “Bringing Accountability in the Caged Parrot”, that a performance audit of the CBI should be made available to the public – the cases filed by it, the convictions secured, and the acquittals. I request my readers to go through it here.
The CBI now is so well set in its ways as a political outfit, and the senior officers have left all investigations and charge sheeting to its lower subordinates. The senior IPS officers have acquired for themselves the role of supervisory officers, thereby ensuring that they are never in the direct line of fire, should any strictures be passed by a Court for faulty investigation or charge sheet as in the Arushi murder case. And in the event of a case failing in the Court, the senior officers use their influence to go in appeal at the tax payers’ money, so that their subordinates are protected. And the government in power has a vested interest in doing so. If they do not do so, the next time they ask the CBI to target their political opponents, the CBI subordinate officers may well refuse to do so and merely advise their seniors, (generally government’s hand picked IPS officers) to use their powers under Section 36 Cr.PC and file the charge sheets under their signature. Misuse of power requires protection, which the ruling government happily and illegally provides, at the taxpayer's expense.
There is no doubt that the CBI is the darling of every Government in power. It is their own personal police outfit, which they directly control by staffing it with their cronies, and then using it to target their political opponents, according to their own timing and advantage. The CBI can close the Bofors case in 2005, according to political direction, and then want to reopen it again in 2017, again according to political direction. The CBI has now become so arrogant about its indispensability to any political government in power that it has ceased to perform its normal duties with any sense of accountability or responsibility, and has acquired a licence for abuse of power with absolute impunity.
Let me end by quoting something I had written in my previous blog on the CBI: “The popular perception of the Central Bureau of Investigation is that it is a superior investigation agency, that its investigations are thorough, meticulous and fair, and that it is above political interference. When people or the Opposition in the States are disgusted at the investigations and behavior of the State Police which comes directly under the political masters, there is always a shrill cry to refer the matter to the CBI, as if it’s integrity and investigation expertise is of a divine order. If only the people knew that the one thing the CBI has remained true to is the date of its founding, that is April 1, 1963. They have, as they have grown, perfected the art of fooling the people all the time.”
I know the CBI has sought forgiveness for what is obviously a gross crime. The least that they should have done was to have more courage to announce what made them commit this heinous wrong against law and justice and why did it happen at all?
Copyright. All rights reserved. Ram Jethmalani. 2019.
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