By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
The public unfolding of one of the most feared and respected institutions of Indian government, the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) has brought to light the problems the public didn’t know existed. These problems at CBI pose some very serious questions about the agency’s credibility. CBI is supposed to be beyond reproach or doubt but the way its dirt, long swept away under the rug, has came out in the open proves that even long arm of justice can be turned into a political limb.
The top cops bickering at CBI also revealed a very ugly truth about the agency, some of these top police officers named in the controversy has a tainted past. Turns out, these people were parachuted into CBI despite the fact that agency had an investigation open against them for charges of bribery and corruption. One very serious charge I remember quoted in news was that some of these top bureaucrats were extorting money from the very suspects they were investigating. How would you trust the agency if people are selling their vested responsibility and authority for money? Doesn’t matter if that officer is a BJP or Congress guy, the problem is that he can be manipulated and that’s why he is placed there at the top.
This is no longer a political thing; it’s a national security concern. If Prime minister, president or any other person with influence in this country has leverage over a top CBI officer because his arms can be twisted, don’t you think an enemy country can have that leverage too? What if ISI entrap one of these top cops and coerce him into cooperation? What if he can be manipulated to leak country’s sensitive secrets or smuggle in a nuclear bomb to be detonated in Connaught Place, New Delhi. That’s why you need honest people at the top because if you can’t influence them, so can’t the others. We need people who can say no to the leadership, even if it’s PM Modi.
Fostering independence and credibility in public institutions is necessary. Having that open, transparent mechanism keeps important checks and balances against misuse of power. People look up to CBI to solve most convoluted of crimes. If this agency becomes a political tool then it sets an unhealthy precedent for our democracy.