Probe agencies under the Centre

That the probe agencies of the Centre are misused by the party in power – whichever party it is – is well known. Once during the UPA regime the Supreme Court called the CBI a “caged parrot”.  Even after this admonition, the CBI has not changed. Only its political masters have. The Supreme Court has now directed the CBI and the ED to complete the probe into the 2G spectrum allocation case and other related matters in six months. The case has been dragging on for years. In December last year, the apex court acquitted the former Telecom Minisiter A. Raja and the DMK MP Kanimozhi. The CBI decided to go in appeal against the judgment.
Now the apex court has not only fixed a time limit for the investigative agencies to complete the probe in six months, it has asked whether “invisible hands” are delaying the probe. On the face of it, the apex court has found reasons to believe that the probe is being deliberately delayed. The Congress party, during whose UPA rule the scam occurred, has accused the ruling establishment of deliberately delaying the case, keeping an eye on the coming elections. The apex court acquitted the principal accused three months ago because the evidence produced before it was not enough to convict the accused. If the CBI or the ED has additional evidence it should be produced straightaway. The CBI has taken former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son into custody and the period of his custodial remand is being extended again and again. The Congress has attributed political motive to it.
The difference between the advanced democracies of the West including the USA and India is that in other countries are probe agencies really independent and not under the control of the political executive of the Government. In the Profumo Scandal of the mid-1960s, the Metropolitan Police of London went on with the inquiry against Profumo despite his denial in the House of Commons. As the scandalous truths started emerging, Profumo had to confess and resign from the office of Defence Minister. In more recent times, the US investigative agencies are conducting their investigations into the allegations against President Donald Trump that he had taken Russian help to ensure his electoral victory. They are not sparing even the topmost executive of the land. In India a different tradition has grown since the colonial days when it was taken for granted that the King, or his officers, can do no wrong. It is time this tradition, which has been found useful by every political party in power, was renounced.

Monday, 19 March, 2018