Job of CBI is policing, not questioning Centre’s policies: Chidambaram
New Delhi: A day after Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said that his government will protect the future of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and its legality, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday reiterated that the central probe agency is not a caged parrot.
Speaking at a function in the national capital, Finance Minister said, “The CBI isn’t a caged parrot and the C of CBI doesn’t stand for Congress.”
Chidambaram also gave a word of caution to the agency’s officials and its investigators by saying, “Investigating agency should draw a line between policy making and policing.”
The Finance Minister continued by saying, “Investigator must cross a threshold that there was criminal intent before pressing charges in matters of financial crimes.”
Chidambaram also stressed that “functional autonomy does not mean that you (CBI) are free from general rules.”
Referring to an ongoing debate on the alleged misuse of the CBI, the Finance Minister maintained that the probe agency is part of the executive Government; it is as much bound by general rules as its other wings.
However, he cautioned the investigating agencies to respect the lines that divide policy making and policing.
The statement from the Finance Minister came a day after PM Dr Singh maintained that economic growth implies greater scope for corruption hence it is important that errors of judgement are distinguished from criminal acts.
With his government’s image battered by a series of graft allegations including in the coal scam that has even sought to draw PMO into its vortex, he said some decisions which appear sensible at the time of being taken may turn out to be faulty later.
“Our administrative set up has to be so managed that the fear of the unknown must not lead to paralysis in decision making,” he said inaugurating an international conference organised by CBI on its Golden Jubilee celebrations.
In the public debate on corruption in India, Singh said, it is sometimes forgotten that economic growth also implies greater opportunity for corruption.
Later, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha, in his speech, said while there is a need for fast economic growth necessitating quick decisions on exploitation of natural resources, the challenge for policy makers is to do in a manner that there is no scope for impropriety.
Singh said public debate on corruption also needs to concentrate a little more on what it would take to make progress even faster.
The BJP has hit back saying CBI’s autonomy is more important than its legality. The party’s spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said that the Centre must not interfere in CBI’s working.