- The Supreme Court once famously remarked about the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as the caged parrot for constantly being subjected to berating from different quarters for meekly submitting to the Central Government’s diktat. There were indisputable reasons that prompted no less than the Apex Court to make such a statement since the premier investigating agency of the nation always presents such an impression for toeing the lines of the ruling dispensation at the Centre. No longer it remains a secret as to how the bureau’s services are used as an attacking tool by the Union Government, irrespective of who is governing at the time, against the opposition parties leading to calls of witch-hunting.
PC: Scroll Staff
- No wonder, the CBI is not only dreaded, derided, and defamed but also has acquired an air of distrust owing to its dubious functionalities over the years. Against this backdrop, the Madras High Court’s 12 directions to CBI to apprise the Union Government of its infrastructure, personnel, and funding requirements as also asking the Centre to pursue structural reforms making the agency an independent body like the Election Commission and the Comptroller and Auditor General is noteworthy for its earnest intent. Make no mistake, these directions are bound to gladden those left disappointed by CBI’s track record of late.
- The need of the hour is to strengthen the agency’s overall effective functionality to ensure the cases under investigation reach their logical conclusion. Such directions were issued by the Madras HC since it was provoked by the CBI’s claim of lacking resources to investigate Rs. 300 crore cheating case after a victim raised doubts about the state police probe. It can be safely assumed that the Government of India will seek a stay on the ruling, as it had done when Gauhati HC had held CBI’s creation unconstitutional. Despite unflattering reputation preceding for its services rendered so far and becoming everyone’s favourite whipping horse, there is no denying the CBI still finds itself in good demand among those appalled by local police shortcomings.
PC: Oneindia Correspondent
- This also reflects poorly on governance in India. Note that data submitted to Madras HC indicates that between 2001 and 2020, the CBI’s conviction rate topped 65% in most years. However, only 7539 cases were seen through trial against 20804 cases registered in this period indicating a high backlog. Of course, lacking enough investigators is a problem hampering the investigations considerably. Despite India’s massive economic growth between 2000 and 2020, appallingly, the agency’s manpower has only marginally risen from 5796 personnel to 7273 flagging forensics as the area here investigators face huge delays.
- Therefore, the Union Government must act to strengthen the agency incommensurate with the law-and-order scenario as well as anticipated challenges on the cyberwar front prevailing in the country. What is the way forward then? Apart from establishing additional Central Forensic Science Laboratories, it makes imminent sense to appoint more personnel with qualifications suited for probing economic offences as cases of digital and cyber-crime too are on the rise. For once, the HC entering the administrative turf pushing the governments to proactively take steps to meet a premier national investigating agency’s need is most welcome