CBI chief is running with the hares and hunting with the hounds

For somebody who has himself admitted to suffering from the foot-in-mouth disease, that is a sure recipe for disaster


Ajay Singh | May 1, 2013

In his first press conference after assuming the charge, CBI director Ranjit Sinha seemed to have a premonition of things to come. He candidly admitted that he suffered from the foot-in-mouth disease and therefore would prefer to keep a distance with the press.

Little did he realise that his words would haunt him within a few days. On Tuesday Sinha made a most ridiculous and inappropriate statement ever for a CBI chief. He said that the agency was not an autonomous entity, it was part of the government and thus there was nothing wrong in sharing a probe report with those who are part of the government.

Just as Sinha made this statement, the entire establishment in the CBI started squirming in discomfort. His assertion was not only inappropriate but ill-timed too, given the tough stance taken by the SC over an act of indiscretion by the agency in letting the law minister and government officials vet the status report on the coal scam probe.

For over two hours CBI officials tried to find the cure of Sinha's disease and extricate him from hurtling to another serious crisis. A clarification was later prepared to point out that Sinha never meant to say what he actually said. Since all these efforts took hours, his original statement symptomatic of the foot-in-mouth disease was played up by the electronic media.

Given Sinha's background as a seasoned CBI official having served in various capacities, his indiscretion appears inexplicable. Having worked closely with the investigation into the fodder scam monitored by the Patna high court, he was not ignorant about procedural lapses and improprieties committed in the coal scam.

He may have been justified in expressing his helplessness to retain even functional autonomy of the country's premiere investigative agency in the face of political interference. But the manner in which he articulated it made it appear that he was trying to please his political masters while expressing his helplessness of the situation. Obviously such an approach is quite akin to the proverbial situation of running with hare and hunting with the hound. For a man self-admittedly afflicted with the foot-in-mouth disease, such a race is a sure recipe for disaster.



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