Stripped of its honour and prestige in the Supreme Court over undue interference in the functioning of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Congress-led UPA government formed a Group of Ministers (GoM) on May 14 to give autonomy to the premier probe agency. But the government’s integrity on the issue was again at stake, when on May 15 Gulab Chand Kataria, a senior BJP leader of Rajasthan, was linked to Sohrabuddin encounter case.
Ahead of the Assembly polls in Rajasthan, suddenly a supplementary chargesheet was filed in a special court of Mumbai in the 5-6 year old case linking the BJP leader in murder and conspiracy. The Congress had played the same trick before Gujarat assembly polls, when it framed the then Home Minister Amit Shah in a criminal case, though their game plan exposed in the court. Now in Rajasthan also, a former Home Minister is being framed in a false case. Earlier, another senior BJP leader Rajender Rathore was framed in a false case, but in that case also the government had to bite the dust.
The Congress-led central government has been in hot waters since two of its senior ministers, Railway Minister Pawan Bansal and Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, stepped down on May 10 following serious charges. In a bid to impress that the BJP leaders are also equally tainted, the Congress made this well-planned move. Through this case against Gulab Chand Kataria, the Congress plans to weaken the BJP in Rajasthan. However, the entire BJP stands united with Kataria to foil the Congress game-plan.
Fact is that the formation of the Group of Ministers for granting autonomy to CBI is nothing but eyewash. The Congress does not want to lose its control over the probe agency. Even the CBI director Ranjit Sinha, who pleaded for autonomy in Supreme Court last week, is now seen toeing the UPA line. He was reported saying that ‘it is in the interest of the CBI that somebody keeps a watch on it without interfering in the investigation’. The chief motive of the CBI (as determined by the UPA) is ear-twisting of the UPA partners and to threaten the opposition members. After the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party leaders in Uttar Pradesh, it targeted the BJP leaders in Gujarat and now the target has shifted to Rajasthan. Tomorrow it may happen anywhere in the country.
In fact, the day CBI gets real autonomy, the UPA will lose power in a day and majority of its leaders will be behind the bars. The talks of granting autonomy are going on for over a decade but nothing substantial has happened. The Supreme Court also issued instructions in this regard many times but every time the matter was buried, citing one or the other reasons. This time the GoM headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram has to submit its report before July 10. If they are serious they need not to start from the scratch. There are nine parliamentary committee reports on improving the agency’s functioning and granting it autonomy. All those reports should be placed before the GoM. Apart from it, due opportunity should be granted to the representatives of the directly recruited CBI cadre officers to submit relevant representations in the interest of the institution. A demand to this effect has also been made through a petition in the Supreme Court recently.
In the Lokpal Select Committee the BJP members had suggested that the CBI should have a separate Directorate of Prosecution under a Director who shall function under the CBI Director. The CBI Director be appointed by a Collegium comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Chief Justice of India, and Director of Prosecution be appointed by the CVC. The Director of Prosecution and CBI Director should have a fixed term. But the problem is that the Government never gave a serious thought to any of these recommendations. Now too it seems doubtful. Need of the hour is that not only the CBI but also the other Constitutional institutions like, CAG, CVC etc. be made completely autonomous.