CBI should get autonomy at par with FBI, Scotland Yard : Madras High Court tells Indian Govt
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has asked the Central Government to consider and pass a law that would grant greater autonomy to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Justices N.Kirubakaran and Pugalendhi also mentioned that the CBI has to be on par with entities such as the Election Commission and Comptroller Auditor General (CAG).
It was emphasized that the CBI must not be under the administrative control of the Central Government. The court was hearing a plea by a group from Ramanathapuram that sought a CBI probe into an alleged Rs.300cr financial fraud.
In its order, the Court pointed out the public demand for CBI investigation into cases involving heinous and sensitive crimes, in the absence of proper investigation by local police. It was noted that while the people trusted the CBI and its credibility, the premier probing agency dragged its feet, citing resource and manpower shortages that prevented them from conducting investigations.
Referring to the many serious cases investigated by the CBI that led to an acquittal, the Court said that it reflected badly on the investigation of the agency. It was added that the CBI’s dependence on officers from the police, CISF and CRPF in investigating white-collar crimes highlighted that the officers coming on deputation did not have experience in probing such cases. A slew of measures and modernizations to augment the CBI were also shared.
The court order mentioned the need to have CBI officers with a wide spectrum of knowledge and expertise in various fields. Numerous high-profile cases, such as the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, 2G Scam, Coal Scam, Hawala Scandal, Sushant Singh Rajput Suicide, etc. were stated to showcase the different domains of crime.
Among the directions issued to the government of India were to enact a separate Act giving statutory status with more powers and jurisdiction to the CBI, to make the agency more independent like the Election Commission and CAG, and to provide a separate budgetary allocation for the CBI. The Director of the CBI shall be given powers as that of Secretary to the Government and shall directly report to the Minister/Prime Minister, the order added.
It was added that CFSL (Central Forensic Science Laboratory) should have more modern facilities that are on par with the FBI in the US and Scotland Yard in the UK. The Court order also urged the CBI to file a policy for permanent recruitment of Cyber Forensic experts, financial audit experts and also send a detailed proposal seeking an increase in Divisions/Wings and strength of officers in the CBI. The Court has also stated deadlines, before which, the CBI and the government of India must respond and take action on these matters.