Saturday, September 22, 2007

Laloo wealth case: CBI slapped in court

At some point of time, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the premier investigating agency of the country and the main federal such body will get the kick from the Supreme Court that it so badly needs in order to its job independently and without political influence. Currently the CBI reports to the Department of Personnel, and hence is extremely open to influence. In theory, the CBI works under its director and evaluates each case on its merits, but a review of many recent cases shows the kind of joke this concept is: The acquittal of Shibu Soren, the one/off investigation of Mayawati in the Taj Corridor case, the dismal performance in the Bofors / Quattrochi case, and the current issue about the Disproportionate assets case against Laloo Prasad Yadav and his wife:

The Patna High Court on Thursday held that the Bihar government appeal challenging the acquittal of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and former CM Rabri Devi in the disproportionate assets (DA) case, an offshoot of the fodder scam, is maintainable.
Solicitor general G Vahanwati appearing on behalf of the CBI submitted as neither the state government nor any its agency was involved in the probe, the state government did not have the right to file appeal against acquittal of Lalu and Rabri.

The facts of the matter are simple. There was a case filed against Laloo Prasad Yadav and his wife by the CBI for possessing more money than their income would allow (something that would mostly be obtained through corruption or other such means). The case was decided against the CBI by the CBI special court, and it would move onto the High Court in appeal under most circumstances.
Of course, we all know that Laloo Prasad Yadav is a special minister in the Central Government, very dependable and many times a trouble-shooter for discussions with allies. And the Congress has a lot of experience with getting the CBI to do what it wants rather than getting an impartial investigation done.
So, the CBI refused to appeal against the judgment and this would have prevented the case from going further except for the Bihar Government acknowledging that it does not believe that the CBI is going to do anything in this regard and deciding to appeal in the High Court. What a shock ? Both the Laloo and the Central Government were aghast, how can the State Government intervene when the CBI is the direct party. Well, now the Bihar High court says that the Bihar Government can intervene, another blow to the credibility of the CBI. The day is not far when the Supreme Court (like it did in the case of Central Vigilance Commissioner) will declare that the ownership of the CBI by the political leadership of the Center is incestuous and the CBI needs to be independent.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 11:05 AM