A DAY after Maharashtra withdrew “general consent” given to the CBI to probe cases in the state, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh Thursday described the agency as “professional” but said “there is a doubt in the minds of many that it may be used for political purposes”.
Deshmukh reiterated that the state withdrew consent to ensure that “the agency is not used for political purposes in Maharashtra”, adding that the CBI had earlier been referred to as a “caged parrot” by the Supreme Court.
“We all know that in the past CBI has done enquiries without taking approval from the Maharashtra government…even now, there is a TRP case that is being investigated by Mumbai Police…a similar case has been registered in UP, and it is possible that due to political pressures the CBI could take up this case as well,” Deshmukh told reporters.
The Home Minister was referring to the ongoing investigation by Mumbai Police, which has alleged that three channels, including Republic TV, were prima facie involved in manipulating TRPs. On Tuesday, the CBI took over a case registered by UP Police against “unknown” channels and persons over alleged fudging of TRPs.
“Everybody knows that Mumbai Police and Maharashtra Police are responsible for ending gang wars and shootouts. Despite this, due to political reasons, cases were taken away from them. Hence, we took a decision to rescind the general consent given to CBI,” Deshmukh said.
The state’s ruling alliance partner Shiv Sena said the decision was taken to “protect the rights” of the state following “interference” by national investigative agencies in the past few months.
“If someone is using the powers of investigative agencies like CBI, ED to harass and defame states that are ruled by non-BJP parties, then such a decision has to be taken to protect the rights of the state,” said Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena MP. Raut said state agencies are capable of conducting any probe. “Whenever Mumbai Police start investigating any case, and they come to the final conclusion, a case is registered in other states and the central agencies take over the case and enter the state. How long will this last? The investigative agencies in Maharashtra are capable of conducting any probe,” Raut said.
BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari, however, alleged that the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government was “scared that its own wrongdoings will be unearthed” by the CBI.
On allegations of interference in the state’s police work, Bhanadari said: “This is the government that rewarded the police officer who had given permission to the Wadhawan brothers (accused in the PMC scam) to travel during lockdown. The officer was given a plum posting. One should learn from this government about how to interfere in police work.”
On Wednesday, a note issued by the state Home department stated: “In exercise of the powers conferred by section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the government of Maharashtra hereby withdraws the consent accorded to the Members of the Delhi Special Police Establishment vide Government Order…dated 22nd February 1989….”
The CBI is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act that makes consent of a state government mandatory for conducting investigation in that state. Since the CBI has jurisdiction only over Central government departments and employees, it can investigate a case involving state government employees or a violent crime in a state only after the government concerned gives consent.
With inputs from Vishwas Waghmode
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