Despite internal differences and a Director determined to have his way in many contentious cases, the CBI is making progress much the way the present government would liked, proving the truth behind the Supreme Court’s contention that it is a ‘caged parrot’.
The agency seems to be moving ahead in many cases with which it had been stuck for years, particularly those in which its top echelons and director Ranjit Sinha had differing views.
The probe agency had recently filed a chargesheet against Lt General Tejinder Singh for allegedly offering Rs 14 crore bribe to the then Army chief Gen V K Singh, a case in which it had earlier chosen not to file the chargesheet citing lack of strong evidence.
The action is particularly significant since Gen Singh was elected to the Lok Sabha and became a minister in the present NDA dispensation. CBI officers later said the evidences mentioned in the chargesheet were not strong enough.
The Aircel-Maxis case, in which former union minister Dayanidhi Maran was implicated, is another instance where the CBI director had serious differences with a section of his colleagues. But Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi had recently expressed the view that Dayanidhi and his brother Kalanidhi could be prosecuted in the case.
With serious divisions prevailing within the agency whether there was enough evidence to prosecute the Marans, they referred the matter to the then Attorney General G E Vahanvati, who left office without taking a call on it.
Rohtagi, who took over from Vahanvati following the NDA’s election victory, had no problems in deciding how the case should proceed.
Sinha was also at odds with his colleagues on chargesheeting retired and serving Intelligence Bureau officials over the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, where he also had to weather the storm from the home ministry.
The CBI director was embarrassed following reports that he was recently at the party thrown by an IB officer his agency wants to name in the case. Serving and retired officials of the agency said Sinha is the ultimate deciding authority in the agency, as he is answerable to the government, and it is up to him to take a judicious decision on the contentious cases.
Citing the Aircel-Maxis case, they said the Director may not have felt there was enough evidence against the Marans and decided against filing chargesheet.
But when there were differences of opinion with his colleagues, he referred the matter to the Attorney General.
He similarly disagreed with his colleagues on dropping the charges against RJD chief Lalu Prasad, where again legal opinion overruled his position.