Time to worry when CBI outdoes itself

The swiftness in the Amit Shah case is very selective

ajay

Ajay Singh | November 2, 2010



The alacrity with which the CBI approached the supreme court after Amit Shah was granted bail is only illustrative of the supine nature of the country’s premier investigative agency. Shah, former home minister of Gujarat, was jailed for his involvement in the brutal killing of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi by the state police. The CBI has been probing Shah’s complicity in the crime.

Of course, there can be hardly any sympathy with a person involved in a criminal act, howsoever powerful he may be politically. Whether Amit Shah deserved bail or further imprisonment is for the courts to decide. But we are more concerned here with the conduct of the investigative agency.

Just as Amit Shah was bailed out in the night in gross violation of the jail manual, the CBI knocked at the door of the supreme court on Friday. When inquired about the urgency of the situation, the CBI counsels pointed out that Shah had been released from the jail in violation of the jail manual and that he could influence the witnesses. This patently absurd proposition found least acceptance with the hurriedly constituted two-member of the SC. However, given the fear exuded by the CBI over the possibility of Shah and his mentor, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi manipulating witnesses and evidence, the SC interned Shah from the state.

Contrast this scenario with the CBI’s handling of cases related to politicians belonging to the ruling dispensation. Despite the SC’s stricture on the CBI’s probe into the 2G scam, the agency showed undue reluctance to proceed with the case. Similarly, in an overnight decision, the account of Italian businessman Ottavio Quttrochi was de-freezed  in London allowing him to spirit away the money to a safe haven.

In the cases related to the disproportionate assets of Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav, the agency’s pace of investigation is apparently dictated by the ruling coalition’s political requirements. Going by the agency’s proclivity to please its political masters, it can be safely assumed that the agency has bartered its autonomy to the central government for a pittance. Unfortunately, the CBI has been getting successive directors who are ready to crawl if asked to bend by the political establishment. Only an exception can save the CBI.

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