'The CBI must be made independent'
The Central Bureau of Investigation, India's premier probe agency, has often been rebuked as Centre's puppet. And the recent accusations of lopsided probes -- in the Aarushi and Bofors cases -- have further tainted the agency's image.
While a special court in Ghaziabad questioned the 'hurry' on the part of CBI to close the probe in the Aarushi Talwar double murder case, an Income Tax Tribunal order clearly showed -- in contrast to the CBI version -- how much money was paid by Bofors to Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi and arms agent Win Chaddha.
In a freewheeling chat with Rediff.com readers former CBI director and author Joginder Singh talks about these issues, how the probe agency works, the challenges it faces and its limitations.
raopm: Sir, What is the best way to bring back reputation to CBI as a professional and independent investigative Agency?
Joginder Singh: First of all CBI has to be given constitutional and independent status. At present it only a department of the government. It depends upon thee government,sanction for even hiring an advocate or decide to go in for appeal. It is the government who decides whether to go in for appeal. So far as the CBI's professionalism is concerned it is a professional organization.
Srinivasan: SAT SRI AKALJI. Is it possible for CBI to work without political pressure? Srinivasan Chennai
Joginder Singh: Every govt.has a decent legal channel and CBI is bound by the advice of the Law ministry and its officials. It cannot hire the outside lawyer or decide the fee which is decided by the government.
cmsingh: Is so called CBI working for the coutry or just for name sake aligned with the govt? whoever in power ?
Joginder Singh: The structure of CBI is that of a government department and it has to follow the direction and roadmap given by the government. For instance it cannot start even an inqury without the permission of the government for the officer of the rank of joint secretary and above leave alone registering a case. After registering the case and before going to the court of law it again needs the sanction of the government. Hundreds of cases are pending with the government against the criminal and corrupt public servants. It is not the question of alignment with the government of the day. CBI cannot decide its own road map and decide what to do the way it has been structured.
Image: Ex-CBI director Joginder Singh
'There is corruption within the CBI'
Joginder Singh: I am not a politician and I would not like to comment on any political party and its functioning. The Income tax Tribunals order does not change the scenario as it is already file before the court. If someone thinks that this is a new discovery it only shows that the people need to read more. The government in its wisdom did not allow the agency to go in for appeal against technical acquittal of business tycoons.
sunil: Why all government offices are not having CCTV facility?As it is availed in many private sector organizations..
Joginder Singh: The government has money for 11 days for hosting commonwealth games but not for installing CCTV for the protection of the common man
BP: Is the CBI clearing agent of the UPA govt
Joginder Singh: It acts within the ambit of the law which is made either in the past or the government of the day.
guda: sir,why did the cbi take one year to take action in the 2g scam?
Joginder Singh: Good question. But the government has to give its approval at every step.
pradip: whether there is corruption within CBI
Joginder Singh: Yes, there is corruption within the organization. CBI take action against the corrupt officials in the organization every year and a number of people are arrested and prosecuted.
Image: Atal Bihari Vajpayee
'Only the PM can influence the CBI'
Joginder Singh: Where there is will ther is a way
delhi: How much is the interference from the politician in day to day work of CBI
Joginder Singh: Nil. The only person who can say anything is Prime Minister. The present PM does not go out of his way at all.
murgan: CBI means culprits burning investigation records
Joginder Singh: Your entitled to your views. People's expectations are far too many with antiquated laws made in 1863. People expect a criminal to be caught in the morning, chargesheet filed in the forenoon and case disposed off and the accused in the evening. It happens in a film which finishes in two and a half hours.
bond: Sir..do you thin Arushi's case was investigated unbiased by the CBI,without any political or any other personal influnce ??Joginder Singh: A dead case came to CBI. What the first investigating officer can do noody else can. Taking finger prints, blood samples, calling dog squads,preserving the scene, taking the clothes and examining the scene of crime. Noida police did not even check the roof where a dead body was lying. CBI got the case 15 days after its occurance and vital piece of clues were missing, dog squad was not called. In a case which depends upon circumstantial evidence. In a house where four people lived-two were dead and the two did not give any clues. I cannot give my own assessment on the case until I see the papers.
Image: Aarushi's parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar
'There is no such thing like CBI in Indian law'
Joginder Singh: It is an investigating agency whose job is to bring the culprits to the book.
ajay jain: should the government or the supreme court cancell all the 2g lisences awardeed to the companies to stop the scam and get the govt. money back?
Joginder Singh: I think the government has already issued notices to companies either for more money or total cancellation of the licenses.
shi! asked, what is CBI?
Joginder Singh: There is no such thing like CBI in Indian laws. This name was given by a government order dated 1st April 1963. It's legal name is special police establishment which was created by the British to investigate corruption in War Time purchases. It has 6000 staff with 30% vacancies. It can only take only 1200 cases in any year and not more. It depends upon government and it cannot send a team abroad. A letter of rogatory has to be written to the administration of a country where you have to investigate. You can kickbacks or commission but the fact is money was paid here. Interestingly Win Chhadha gave a party in a five star hotel where there a banner "Win Chhadha always wins".
Image: Former telecom minister A Raja