Witch hunting tools

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/3/2018 11:39:09 AM IST

 If there are reasons to believe that central enforcement agencies such as CBI, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax (IT) are in dire need of officers of the highest caliber; it is not a wrong assessment. However, in the light of recent actions of the central agencies, the issue of witch hunt against political rivals has again resurfaced. This is not specific to the current BJP government under Narendra Modi where the witch hunt has become like an event, running parallel with election campaigns. The main functions of these agencies are to tackle corruption and bring the offenders to book or so it seems. Experiences of many other countries reveal that the anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) fail to do their best also due to a lack of public involvement and insufficient accountability. Under the current setup, independence or autonomy of the CBI will always remain a myth. First of all, it needs sanctions for prosecuting corruption cases against public servants and in some situations it even needs permission to register cases. Again, the government must grant approval if the CBI losses a case in the trial court and wants to appeal to the higher court. Like a small boy, it needs to ask its daddy for everything. Unfortunately, the CBI has been used as an effective tool against political rivals; be it Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mulyam Singh or Mayawati etc whose cases never seem to end but kept pending for decades –reopening if the powers at the centre are hostile and closed when the powers at the centre are friendly. In order to nullify the channels of control, the Supreme Court in 1997, tried to create a powerful single agency by empowering the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) with powers of supervision and control over vigilance administration and corruption cases as well as over CBI investigations. The SC directive intended to insulate appointments, investigation and prosecution from government control (read the DoPT). This experiment with independence failed for obvious reasons. This could not proceed further for the simple reason that vested interest ensured it never got beyond the filing. Such a single-agency approach appears to have worked for South Korea which has an Independent Commission that reports to the President. It has also worked well in Hong Kong with its Independent Commission Against Corruption. The other investigative arms of the government include the Enforcement Directorate to probe economic offences and the Income Tax to detected undisclosed income or black money etc. The belief that officials of high integrity would work well for the independent functioning of the CBI fell flat with regard to the issue the National Herald case where the Gandhis are targets. CBI had called for closure of the case and according wrote to ED Chief Rajan Katoch since there was no evidence of any offence committed. However, under interventions form BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swamy and an IT Officer, the Katoch was shunted out and the case “reopened” and another officer named as special director to tighten the noose around the necks of the Gandhi mother and son. The need for the Lok Pal is growing more stronger but the BJP which used to rant a lot while it was the opposition and against the Congress, appears to have had a change of heart. Also its jibe at the CBI for being Congress Bureau of Investigation has now been forgotten along with the vow against black money.

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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