28 October 2018
CBI feud : Supreme Court must take steps to restore trust
Whatever happened and is happening within the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), is reminiscent of the conspiracies hatched in the middle ages or in a gang war. Due to its politicization, CBI has undergone tough times earlier too. The story as to how the Congress government used it for its political motives is clearly described in B. R. Lal’s book ‘Who Owns CBI: The Naked Truth’. But the current government has crossed all limits. It is known to all that the CBI has been white washing in the Vyapam scam. It is also known to everyone how the CBI softened its look-out notice in the case of Vijay Mallya. In the case of Neerav Modi and Mehul Choksi, central investigation agencies, including the CBI, took a soft stand. Not only this, Special Director of CBI Rakesh Asthana became a favorite of Narendra Modi by giving him a clean chit as chief minister in the Godhra carnage. Ironically, the government that is erecting the tallest statue of Sardar Patel is destroying his dream institution, the CBI. Sardar had wanted the CBI to investigate corruption in princely states and to help in the implementation of a fair and lawful order there.
The height of political intervention is when the director of CBI, who is appointed by the highest committee of the country, is challenged by the special director, who was thrust into the department. The director files an FIR against the special director and takes the initiative to arrest his own officials! If the director (Alok Verma) is accusing his junior (special director Rakesh Asthana) of taking Rs 3 core bribe, then the junior has accused him of taking Rs 2 crores. If a bribe had been taken to divert the investigation into a different direction in the case of the meat exporter Moin Qureshi, and the special director was running a racket for ransom along with the officers in the PMO, ED and RAW, then there could be no more serious matter than this! The connection of this entire feud leads straight to the Prime Minister, because special director Rakesh Asthana is said to be his favourite. It seems, not without reason, that the whole government is standing with the junior instead of taking the side of the director. One after the other, Rakesh Asthana’s deeds are unfolding in front of the public.
Unfortunately, the political parties of the country have been divided between Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana. If the BJP and its ruling allies are in support of Asthana, then the Congress and the other opposition parties are in support of Alok Verma. The Congress alleges that Alok Verma was taking the initiative to investigate the Rafale deal, and, therefore, he was removed from his job. It believes that for the same reason, the CBI office was sealed overnight and officers have been transferred on a large and sudden scale, like a coup. The allegation of the Congress and the lawyer Prashant Bhushan related to Rafale deal, points to the affidavit given to the Supreme Court by the director, that he was conducting some special investigation which made the government uncomfortable. That’s why he has been sent on leave.
The Supreme Court is hearing the case. While perhaps not trusting the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), it has deputed retired Judge AK Patnaik for monitoring the investigation and has sought a report in two weeks. Along with this, the Supreme Court has taken action against Nageshwar Rao, the fourth number officer appointed as the executive director, by limiting his powers to take policy decisions. Whatever decisions he has taken or would take will be presented before the Court.
The scab of the dirt is that Nageshwar Rao is also surrounded by allegations of misconduct. His greatest qualification is that he is close to Ram Madhav and is involved in the Sangh’s communal Hindutva agenda. He is active in finding ways to stop export of beef and in writing ‘History of Hindu pride’. This shows the intention of the government to communalise the bureaucracy. That is why the Narendra Modi government is making efforts to run the country’s bureaucracy on the lines of Gujarat model. If one pays attention to the Gujarat model then it is known that there were at least a dozen IPS officers either opted for VRS or were convicted and imprisoned in jails. Those who made an autonomous attempt to follow the law of the land were so disturbed that they stopped going out of their houses. Modi government wants to bring the same situation at the center. In this anti-Constitution and anti-national work, the so-called secular and social justice parties/leaders of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are equally responsible.
The Socialist Party believes that all the institutions of the country should be answerable to the Constitution of the country and the rule of law, and not to any individual leader or party. Given the CBI’s current feud, the Socialist Party makes an earnest appeal to the Honourable Supreme Court to give a firm order in the whole case. So that the confidence of the citizens of the country can be restored in the constitutional institutions, which have been badly shaken by the current central government. The Socialist Party demands that the politicization of the CBI should be stopped and it should be given full autonomy under the Lokpal. The Socialist Party further strongly condemns the irresponsible and misleading rhetoric such as ‘no institution is bigger than country’, made by a senior leader in the government.
Dr. Prem Singh