The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) is the most hated but potent weapon in the hands of the ruling establishment and records of its misuse can fill the whole of Parliament.
A teaser on the extent of use and misuse was provided by former director of CBI Joginder Singh yesterday. He told a TV channel that there was pressure on him to slow done investigation of Fodder scam involving Bihar's Laloo Prasad Yadav.
Another former director US Misra, who served as director between 2003 and 2005, investigated the disproportionate assets case against Mayawati. He said that political pressure was a very real consideration. "Sometimes, when we investigate cases against prominent political leaders, some influence somewhere... comes... to keep it pending for some time or to give a progress report this way or that way," he said.
Joginder Singh was CBI director during 1996-97. The then Prime Minister had told him to go easy on the fodder case. "Thoda sa isko ahista kar lo." Singh wanted such order in writing. But such instructions are not issued on paper and the result was retribution. Joginder Singh was shunted out of the CBI in just 11 months of his taking office.
Why we call the CBI as worse than weapon of mass destruction? Weapons kill people but terror and loss of credibility that is unleashed under the CBI raids and arrests destroy peoples lives and moral fabric of a society.
Even the inaction of the investigative agency encourages the virus called corruption as is evident in high-profile political cases.
One of the demands of social activists is to make the CBI independent of the government control and is included in the Janlokpal agenda.
However, no political party has shown courage while they talk of it depending on which side of establishment they represent. During their incarnation as oppositon party they demand indepedence and a kind of leash on CBI but the same party will misuse the CBI when they are voted to power.
Sometime ago Joginder Singh had asked for few amendments to make CBI a better and respectful organisation.
Speaking in Pune in July this year, Singh had said the CBI, which functions just like any other government wing, needs functional independence like the Supreme Court. Singh said that with political pressure and lack of facilities, the CBI cannot function independently.
"The post of the CBI director is a high-profile and high-pressure job. One meets the prime minister frequently," he had said. He related several of his experiences of political interference in investigations of corruption cases. "The CBI is answerable to the court as well as the government. It is just like any other government wing. There is a need to give functional independence to the CBI just like the Supreme Court," he said.
CBI power is too intoxicating and a great democracy should not be too drunk to know where it is heading.