The premium investigation agency in India, the CBI has come under scanner. In a hard hitting statement, the Supreme Court has slammed CBI for keeping it in dark on the Coalgate issue. The report on the Coalgate issue was reportedly shared with law minister and others who matter and this seems to peeve off Supreme Court which has also criticized the Government for the same.
The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice RM Lodha maintained that this was a disturbing trend and the premium investigating agency should be allowed to act in a neutral manner. The CBI director, Ranjit Sinha filed a two page affidavit in the apex court. In the affidavit, the director claimed that the report pertaining to the Coalgate matter was shared with law minister, Ashwani Kumar and other officials in Prime Minister’s Office.
Infact, the apex court was quick in criticizing the CBI and observed that the need for sharing such a vital document was never necessary and that the incident has taken away the credibility of the whole process. The apex court also hinted that CBI need not take instructions from those in power as it nullifies the relevance of the probe.
CBI was asked certain uncomfortable questions too. The bench asked them to clarify on what authority did the law minister and other officials had when they asked for a review of the status report. This becomes significant as the probe is still underway and with law minister interfering in an ongoing probe, eyebrows get raised. Opposition seems to have sensed the mood of the occasion and are calling for resignation of law minister and the Prime Minister himself.
The apex court has also asked the CBI to file a fresh affidavit on the latest happenings including a list of those ministers and officials in coal, law ministry and PMO who have seen the report. The apex court has made its intentions clear as it has called for the details of the officials who had probed the case. The apex court had made it clear that it means business. It has also stalled the transfer of investigating officer Ravi Kant who was reportedly being transferred to the intelligence bureau.
CBI on its part has assured the apex court that it will not share the proceedings of the status report any further with political masters. However, things are not as simple as they seem. CBI has always been blamed for patronizing the party in power. This time it happens to be United Progressive Alliance (UPA) led by Manmohan Singh. It remains to be seen as to how much will the CBI stick to its words and desists from bowing to political pressure.
Opposition has always slammed the CBI of taking side of those in power. Such incidents as the Coalgate scam lend credibility to the assumption that the premium investigating agency adopts a biased approach when it comes of dealing with the ruling party.
After the reported hard talking by Supreme Court, it seems that CBI will learn its lessons and react in a cautious manner when it comes to sharing reports with political bosses.