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Saturday, December 2, 2023

‘Bottleneck affecting investigation’: CBI to SC on states withdrawing consent for probe

The CBI has told the Supreme Court that various state governments’ decision to withdraw general consent for a CBI probe is proving detrimental not only for the investigation, but also for prosecution of cases.

CBI Director S.K. Jaiswal, in an affidavit, has informed the Supreme Court that eight state governments — West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram — have withdrawn the general consent.

“Now, taking specific consent again on case-to-case basis is time-consuming and at times may be detrimental to timely and prompt investigation,” he said in the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, the CBI has sent over 150 requests to governments of Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Kerala, and Mizoram during the period 2018-June 2021 for grant of specific consent for investigation of cases in the territory of these states. These requests were made for investigating trap cases, disproportionate assets cases, cases relating to allegation of cheating, forgery, misappropriation and loss of foreign exchange, and also bank fraud cases.

“Requests were granted in less than 18 per cent cases, which were related mainly in cases of trap of corrupt central public servants. Requests in approximately 78 per cent cases were pending, which mainly pertained to bank frauds of high magnitude impacting the economy of the country,” it said.

The affidavit added that delay caused in taking up cases by the CBI, at times, leads to destruction or dissipation of evidence, which is detrimental not only for the investigation but also for subsequent prosecution of cases.

It said the matter of investigation taken by the CBI either on the reference of the state government or on the direction of the constitutional courts, and more often it results in a significant time lapse between the actual commission of offence and the date on which the investigation is taken up by it.

On September 3, a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul decided to examine, within the ambit of investigation and prosecution, the CBI’s success rate and performance leading a case to its logical conclusion.

“We call upon the petitioners to place the year wise data on the cases under prosecution, the time period over which they are pending before the trial courts and the percentage of conviction rendered by the courts at different level,” it said.

The CBI filed the affidavit in response to this court order. The top court was hearing a matter arising out of the CBI’s appeal from a 2018 judgment of the Jammu & Kashmir High Court. The high court had let off some lawyers from charges of fabricating false evidence against a few security forces personnel to implicate them in a case of rape and murder.

Two girls from Shopian had died due to drowning in March 2009 and the CBI had claimed that some lawyers and doctors created false evidence of rape and murder.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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