Guilty as charged
- IPL spot-fixing case: Net widens, police watching 3 more players, other bookies
- IPL 2013: Imperious Brad Hodge powers Rajasthan Royals to qualifier
- Sonia Gandhi, PM Manmohan Singh slam BJP for disrupting Parliament, stalling bills
- IPL spot-fixing: 'Bookie' Vindoo was close to BCCI chief's son-in-law, say cops
- Jessica Lall case: Shayan Munshi to face perjury trial
Barely a day after the DMK withdrew support to the UPA government, the investigative apparatus clicked into action. A CBI team descended on M.K. Stalin's home to question his son Udhayanidhi about an imported car allegedly in his possession. The CBI argues that it was following up on an investigation by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, which was probing the import of about 30 luxury cars on which duties had not been paid. It claims it was a mere coincidence that this raid happened right after the DMK had detached itself from the government at the Centre. To onlookers, though, it seemed to confirm the strong perception that the government treats the CBI like a crude tool to control supporters and harass political opponents. An embarrassed UPA jumped to dispel that sense. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said he strongly disapproved, and even the prime minister broke his usual silence to say that he was "very upset", and that "the government didn't do it". The government's disavowal has guilt stamped all over it.
There must be some clarity on the official line — is the CBI an independent agency, carrying out its investigations on its own, or is it biddable and easily manipulated by the government? If the CBI is genuinely autonomous, how can the government, which claims it did not unleash it on a just-estranged ally in the first place, now stop it from carrying out its duties and investigating Stalin's son? If necessary, the courts should step in and insulate the CBI's probe into the DMK scion's affairs from government interference.
Of course, insulating the CBI is a daunting project. Over the years, the CBI has seemed to hew to the whim and agenda of the government of the day. Whether it was the intervention for Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, or the way it changed its tune in cases related to the demolition of the Babri mosque when the BJP was in power, the CBI has seldom conveyed an impression of impartiality. It tightens and slackens investigations based on the immediate interests of the ruling party. This has had corrosive effects on the agency and, by extension, trust in the state. The credibility of the public investigative system has been questioned by anyone and everyone being probed, be it Jaganmohan Reddy or Mayawati. The 1998 Supreme Court hawala judgment, which reminded the CBI of its mandate and autonomy, hoped it would be headed by individuals of impeccable integrity, who had no past to hide, and who could not be tempted by future gain. And yet, the UPA recently appointed a former CBI director as governor to Nagaland, seemingly unperturbed by the damage the decision could wreak on its own, and the CBI's, imperilled credibility.
- Paddy shortfall blamed for mystery death of procurement officer
- 'Bookie' Vindoo was close to BCCI chief’s son-in-law: cops
- Net widens, police watching three more players, new set of bookies
- Suspected Islamists behead soldier on London street
- Malegaon 2006 case: NIA names four right wing terror suspects
- BJP invokes 'sarcasm, ridicule' against PM