No further feud in CBI, please

The Supreme Court order today reinstating Alok Verma as CBI chief is seen as the end of a three-month old episode of bitter and even childish acrimony between two top officials of the most prestigious investigating agency of the country. Quite naturally the Opposition has dubbed it as a setback for the NDA government, victory of justice and stalling saffron sacrilege of the constitution. The ruling party too hailed the order with union minister for finance Arun Jaitley, an eminent lawyer himself, commenting that the apex court took a `balanced view' of the whole case. This is all fine but what probably people of the country desire most ardently at this moment is that the investigating agency that had remained, since its inception in 1941, synonymous with integrity and propriety should be brought back to its position of eminence. The British government of that time set it up to investigate cases of corruption regarding war materials supplies but the government of independent India decided to continue with it. Of course there had been criticisms of the agency from many quarters, political parties, individuals even the courts. For example in 2013 the Supreme Court called CBI ‘a caged parrot which sings its master’s voice’. But despite all these criticisms people view it as an agency which is, despite a few black sheep here and there, seen as an organization by and large above board. People view it as an institution that carries out its duties without bias, with sincerity and integrity.  Though there had been failures on its part, there had still been thousands of cases across the country that the agency solved and brought the perpetators of the offences to justice. Verma who is to retire on January 31 cannot make any key policy decision. A committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice of India will have to meet and take a decision on Verma’s status in a week. Whatever the situation the union government as well as officials of the agency should take utmost care that no further feud cripples and tarnishes the image of this body.

Tuesday, 8 January, 2019