Former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai, who is known for overseeing the audits for the 2G spectrum and coal allocation scams during the UPA regime, underlined in his new book that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should maintain an ‘arm’s length’ relationship with the government of the day.
In the book titled, “Rethinking Good Governance: Holding to Account India’s Public Institutions”, the former IAS officer noted that CBI seems to be becoming a ‘handmaiden’ to investigate, if not intimidate.
“The CBI seems to be becoming a ‘handmaiden’ to investigate, if not intimidate. The onus is now squarely on the government to cut its losses, and, wielding the hammer, set about ensuring that it is not held guilty of allowing the credibility of these institutions to hit rock-bottom during its tenure,” Rai wrote.
Rai also stated that the Parliamentary Action Committee (PAC) should hold frequent meetings which would be highly effective to reign in the government under constant scrutiny and bring it to book when there are ‘signs of laxity, wastage or malfeasance’.
His book is themed on the importance of institution slike CBI, PAC, CAG amongst others and the role they serve as the pillars supporting the foundation of a robust and vibrant democracy.
Rai also wrote that the role of prosecutors in the probe agency need an overhauling because the track record of high profile cases manifests that the role of the prosecutor is not very encouraging. “Often, the director of prosecution plays a secondary role and gets swamped by the same political allegiances that bedevil the director of the organisation, especially when the director gets the appointment after lobbying and hence ab initio starts with an ‘I owe you’ tag,” he writes in the book.
According to Rai, accountability institutions that form the foundational pillars of any democracy seem to be losing their structural strength. “That is probably the reason an otherwise decisive government did not see or, if it saw, did not act on early warning signs.”
“Considering that the agency seems to be the final port of call for any major act of crime or corruption, there is an urgent need to arm it with a distinct mandate of keeping an ‘arm’s-length’ relationship with the government. This should be genuine and not undertaken merely for visibility purposes,” he writes.
(With PTI inputs)
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