Editorial

Midnight raiders

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/29/2018 12:45:45 PM IST

 India’s premier investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has reduced itself to a ridiculous level of public infighting and the best method used by the two opponents within the agency, is to form probe teams to raid the each other’s premises then file criminal charges. The CBI is under the home ministry but today, it is also well controlled by the all-powerful PMO. The other raiding agency that has also been heavily engaged to file criminal charges against opposition politicians is the Enforcement Directorate which is under the finance ministry but coordinates its “anti-corruption” activity with the PMO. The two agencies conduct raids on those whom the government wants to fix but the tragedy of it is that CBI is at war within itself and inadvertently openly exposing how it “fixes” those on its wanted list. The Enforcement Directorate is also no less with its raids conducted at premises of all those on its wanted list. The directions on where and against whom the raids are to be conducted, comes from those who call the shots at the helm of power. Most appropriately, these raids are being described as ‘midnight knocks’, a practice used by dictatorial regimes to hunt down and get known dissidents or critics at the most unexpected time. Both the CBI and ED have been busy during the past few years conducting their ‘midnight raids’. It is not only the central agencies that the government uses but also police of various states. The most notable of the raid raj today is the police raids on the homes and offices of lawyers, trade unionists, writers and rights activist and the subsequent arrest on the ground they are anti-national. This tactic has been used effectively in the past by dictatorial regimes, which equate criticism of the government with treason and use fear and anxiety to overwhelm the electorate. That is precisely what the present establishment in India is attempting to do. As the 2019 elections draw near, a new narrative is being fostered – of an enemy within who is not just against the government and its policies, but against the nation itself. This will continue to befall any known critic of the Modi government and that is why the overwhelming majority of the India media today, are playing very safe. The darkening skies can no longer be denied or wished away, nor is there any point making or dispelling comparisons with the Emergency. It is another story if the CBI has actually managed to significantly effect punishment, particularly political bigwigs and powerful bureaucrats. This is because it has been used for settling political scores. Unless the CBI is revamped and its powers and functioning made wholly independent of normal government control, it will hardly be able to net the big fishes. The CBI is normally manned by IPS officers deputed from states and it is time that something is done in order to ensure there is no external influence on the agency. There are several high profile cases where the CBI has been ‘investigating’ for decades with hardly any concrete conviction. The fight against corruption perhaps lay not in CBI raids but making the agency accountable to the supreme court and the President of India otherwise, to expect the CBI to combat corruption is like believing that a single bucket riddled with holes can fight a raging forest fire.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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