Has the Central Bureau of Investigation become a government stooge? The country’s top investigative body has often been criticized for its role as a government watchdog. But while such accusations have been leveled against the body for decades, even in the days of Congress, a new investigation by The Indian Express has revealed that over the past eight years of the NDA coalition government led by the BJP, CBI has increasingly been used to target opposition leaders.
The report notes that between 2004 and 2014, the CBI investigated 72 political leaders, 43 of whom were from the opposition. Since 2014, at least 124 prominent politicians have come under the CBI scanner and 118 of them were from the opposition. The survey noted a jump from 60% to 95% of opposition leaders under the CBI scanner between the UPA and NDA years.
The report also noted that of the 72 prominent leaders studied by the CBI during the UPA years, 29 belonged either to Congress itself or to its allies. As of 2014, only 6 BJP leaders are currently under the CBI scanner.
The survey highlighted trends such as cases against leaders shelved when they changed political sides.
The contents of the investigation led to a political tussle for the BJP, with opposition leaders targeting the party for using the CBI for political purposes. Trinamool Congress Leader Derek O’Brien took to Twitter and proclaimed, “Washing Machine is making headlines.” The leader’s dig refers to a comment made by TMC leader Mamata Banerjee when she said that corrupt politicians and black money “go white” when they enter the BJP.
Samajwadi party leader Akhilesh Yadav also took to the microblogging site and shared the survey referencing some iconic lines by poet Sahir Ludhianvi: “Gairo pe sitam, apno pe karam, hukmaran yeh zulm na kar”.
Bihar’s Rashtriya Janata Dal has also taken a swipe at the ruling NDA government. The Tejashwi Yadav-led party’s official Twitter account shared the investigation and said that under the BJP, the CBI has become “worse than a police station”.
“In the NDA-2 regime, the CBI biased parrot registered cases against 95% of the opposition leaders so that they could help the BJP. criminals and corrupt have made the biggest agency in the land worse than a police station,” the party tweeted.
The investigation follows a series of cases against prominent opposition leaders and politicians by the CBI and the Directorate of Law Enforcement, two arms of what is dubbed the ‘holy trinity’ of government , including income tax. In the recent past, several opposition leaders have denounced the BJP for using autonomous bodies like the CBI, ED and others like the Narcotics Control Bureau to target certain individuals.
In October last year, NCP leader Sharad Pawar denounced the ruling party and claimed that central agencies including the CBI, ED and NCB were being misused to target parties. Maharashtra opposition party. Care is taken to ensure that political opponents are “vilified” using central agencies, Pawar had said.
Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao lashed out at BJP leaders earlier in August and made similar accusations after BJP leaders released statements in the media about the CBI publication. of notice to TRS MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha in connection with the “Delhi liquor scam”. “How come the BJP leaders knew in advance that the CBI would send notices to Kavitha? Either the CBI should have told them in advance or the CBI should have acted on the instructions of the BJP. This proves that BJP leaders are using the CBI and other investigative agencies,” he said in a Deccan Chronicles article. -The BJP ruled the states.
On September 16, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the CBI and ED were “unnecessarily disturbing everyone” and said the country could not progress like that. In August, the CBI raided Deputy CM Manish Sisodia of Delhi as part of an investigation into the alcohol scam. The ED also recently launched new raids in around 40 locations across the country as part of a money laundering investigation into alleged irregularities in Delhi’s now-discontinued 2021-22 excise policy.
(With PTI entries)