10:35 pm - Monday December 11, 2017

Chidambaram cautions CBI not to interfere in policy matters

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Chidambaram cautions CBI not to interfere in policy matters
Chidambaram cautions CBI not to interfere in policy matters

New Delhi – Finance Minister P. Chidambaram cautioned the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday, saying, “investigating agencies should draw a line between policy making and policing.”

“Investigator must cross a threshold if there was criminal intent before pressing charges in matters of financial crimes, ” Chidambaram said while addressing the CBI conference on corruption here.

Chidambaram also stressed that ” functional autonomy does not mean that you (CBI) are free from general rules.”

Rejecting allegations that the CBI is impeded by an interfering government to protect its interests, Chidambaram also said that the country’s premier investigating agency is neither “a caged bird nor the Congress Bureau of Investigation”.

“There are several myths of CBI being caged parrot and being Congress Bureau of Investigation, none of these are correct,” Chidambaram said while addressing the CBI conference on corruption here.

“CBI is as good an investigation agency as any in the world, need for an independent agency is important,” he added.

His comments came just a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated that the UPA-II Government would take all necessary steps to establish the need for the CBI and its legitimacy and said that the Centre will protect the CBI’s “past and future work.”

“Some questions have come up recently about the legality of the CBI. Our Government will look into this seriously and promptly. This is a matter that will undoubtedly have to be considered also by the highest court in the land,” Dr. Singh said.

“Under our Constitution, maintenance of public order is the domain of the executive, and the police and (other) investigative agencies are part of the executive,” he added.

“Under law, the police enjoys complete autonomy in investigations,” Dr. Singh further said at the XXth conference of the CBI, apparently reacting to the Gauhati High Court’s recent ruling declaring the CBI an illegal institution.

Dr. Singh further said that the debate on the CBI and other investigative agencies autonomy has developed political overtones, which he described as unfortunate.

“What is almost as distressing is that sensitive investigations are increasingly becoming subjects of running media commentary, often on the basis of material that is not otherwise in the public domain,” he said.

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