IN THESE times blighted by corruption, we have been deluged with self-proclaimed magic potions to weed out the malaise of graft, crony capitalism and the deeprooted nexus between the public servant and private corporations. Among the burning issues related to the Lokpal debate, the stickiest contention has been the question of how to make the CBI more honest and fair while probing people in power.
Almost everybody, except the government, acknowledges that the biggest impediment in the CBI’s functioning is political interference in its work and extraneous pressure brought upon its officials. This government and those before it have misused the CBI both to persecute the Opposition parties and cover up its own malfeasance and corruption. There is urgent need to empower the CBI and insulate it from political meddling. But along with it comes the fear of vesting too much power in an agency, which if left unaccountable could possibly go rogue.
TEHELKA posed the riddle of fixing the CBI to four eminent legal luminaries who have, from close quarters, seen both the application and distortion of the rule of law. They were all unanimous in their opinion that the status quo is undesirable and prescribed various innovative lawful methods to free the agency from the vice grip of the government, while at the same time ensuring accountability and non-partisanship in its investigation. TEHELKA also spoke to the only CBI director to have worked under both the UPA and NDA regimes. He too emphasised the crying need to make the CBI autonomous and independent. The prescriptions of these five distinguished experts provide a reassuring middle ground between the flag-waving overreach of Team Anna and the opportunism of the government.
Justice JS Verma, Former Chief Justice of India
‘On probes, the CBI should be answerable only to the courts’
Former Chief Justice of India JS Verma, shares his views with Abhishek Bhalla on the debate around the CBI. Read More >
US Misra Former CBI Director
‘Both the UPA and NDA have interfered with cases’
In an interview with Ashish Khetan, Retired CBI director US Misra reveals the various methods through which the government encumbers the CBI. Read More >
Harish Salve, Former Solicitor General
‘The CBI should not be under the Lokpal or the government’
Former Solicitor General Harish Salve tells Ashish Khetan that corruption can’t be curbed if the CBI continues to be under the government’s thumb. Read More >
Gopal Subramanium, Former Solicitor General
‘When an investigation is shoddy, 75 percent of it involves a hidden agenda’
In an interview withAshish Khetan, former Solicitor General, Gopal Subramanium, prescribes the remedies to improve the impartiality of the agency whose reputation is at an all-time low. Read More >
Rajindar Sachar Former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court
‘An independent CBI director can still be held answerable and accountable’
Former chief justice of the Delhi and Sikkim High Courts, Justice Rajindar Sachar tells Ashish Khetan that the first step in the direction of curbing corruption is to free the CBI from government control. Read More >
THE WORST fears of RTI activists have come true. The government has moved to keep the CBI out of RTI purview. The excuse: national security. Ignoring provisions of Section 8 of the RTI Act that safeguards sensitive information, the government decided to give the CBI a blanket exemption. What is more shocking is the secretive manner in which this change was brought about. In March, RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal had filed four RTI petitions with the CBI demanding to know details of corruption cases involving bureaucrats and ministers. In response, the CBI decpned to give information calpng it voluminous. Agrawal then made his first appeal with the Appellate Authority of CBI in May. On 16 June, the authority refused to intervene and informed him that under a notification dated 9 June, the CBI has been removed from RTI purview. He alleges that this notification was not even made pubpc before 20 June. Read More>
In the battle between the government and Team Anna over who will hold the CBI’s reins, no one is heeding the agency’s demand for autonomy, says Abhishek Bhalla