The Congress said that the state governements’ decision shows that that they do not have faith in the CBI.
Amaravati/Kolkata: In an unprecedented move, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal governments have withdrawn their “general consent” to the CBI to conduct raids and investigations, as the Opposition parties alleged that states are losing faith in Central agencies due to their “misuse” by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
The BJP, however, dubbed it a “clear malafide exercise of power” by “corrupt parties” to protect their interests. The Congress said that the state governements’ decision shows that that they do not have faith in the CBI.
After the decision by TDP and Trinamul governments, the CBI would now need permission from the respective state governments to carry out any investigation in these states, except those ordered by courts and against Central government officials. Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata
Banerjee are among the key leaders trying to forge a broader “grand alliance” of Opposition parties to fight the BJP unitedly in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The two leaders are likely to meet in two or three days to discuss alliance formation.
In the last few days, Mr Naidu has been vocal about alleged misuse of the CBI saying that the Modi government was misusing agencies like the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and income-tax department to intimidate and harass Opposition parties.
Mr Naidu has alleged that TDP leaders and businessmen linked to the ruling party have been subjected to income-tax raids after his NDA pullout. Recently, the Andhra government had decided against providing police cover to I-T officials for conducting raids.
Andhra deputy chief minister (home) N. China Rajappa told reporters that the reason to withdraw the consent was recent allegations against top CBI officials.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the government hereby withdraws the general consent accorded to all the members of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise the powers and jurisdiction under the said Act in the state of Andhra Pradesh,” said an order issued by Mr Naidu’s government on November 8.
The CBI functions under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, under which a state government “routinely” grants consent to the CBI for exercising its authority in the state and the Andhra government, too, had issued relevant orders periodically in the last few years.
Andhra government sources said the government order was issued after a Vijayawada-based advocate, Y. Vedvyas, wrote to the chief secretary urging the state government to withdraw general consent citing alleged lapses and infighting in the probe agency.
Addressing Trinamul workers in Kolkata, Ms Banerjee said, “Chandrababu Naidu’s decision not to allow the CBI in his state is absolutely right.”
“Earlier, we didn’t need to use such provisions but we need to do it now as the BJP is using CBI and other agencies to pursue its own political interests and vendetta,” she said.
The BJP termed the Naidu government’s decision “a malafide exercise” to protect acts of corruption, financial embezzlement and other acts of criminality.
“The state government has cited recent happenings in the CBI as a lame excuse and a ruse to brazenly save the corrupt and extend political patronage to people and organisations involved in acts of corruption and criminality,” BJP Rajya Sabha member G.V.L. Narasimha Rao said.
He said Trinamul leaders and the Gandhi family of the Congress are facing probe in “corruption” cases and it has led to a “convergence of their interests” with Mr Naidu.
He alleged a new “coalition of the corrupt parties” is taking shape in the country and the BJP would raise this issue at all political platforms to expose the corrupt deeds of what he dubbed as the newly-minted “Grand Corrupt Alliance” (GCA).
Opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh also decried the state government’s move and asserted that the state government did not have the authority to bar the CBI.
The principal Opposition YSR Congress alleged the controversial decision was taken only because the chief minister was scared of the CBI.
CPI state secretary K. Ramakrishna also questioned the state government’s authority in prohibiting the functioning of the CBI.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, “Unfortunately in the last four-five years they (central agencies) have been treated like private armies of (BJP chief) Amit Shah and the Prime Minister... That is why people doubt the ability of the CBI to act independently or to act without pressure.”
Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal too backed Mr Naidu, saying the Modi government was misusing the CBI and the income-tax department.