It’s a public secret that India’s civil administration is neck deep in mire. But the spectacular way in which it has unravelled within the CBI, the premier investigating agency of the country has been truly bewildering. For the longest time, CBI has been a puppet in the hands of the central government, their tool of intimidation to silence political opposition. But the current series of events could just be what the ‘caged parrot’ needs to fly.
There are plenty of damning questions to be asked about the unceremonious removal of Alok Verma as CBI chief. When he was appointed by the collegium of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister and the opposition leader together, then how can another body like the CVC, even though it has administrative rights over the CBI, take such a drastic measure? Why wasn’t it referred to the collegium? What was the reason for such haste that an important decision like this had to be made at midnight? Why was Alok Verma’s entire team asked to stay away from the office?
When someone (Rakesh Asthana) is inducted into CBI by the CVC in spite of the CBI chief’s opposition, what can the CBI chief do? If he has a valid reason against the appointment could he not complain against it somewhere? When he is the boss, doesn’t he have the right to decide who works with him? How can an investigating agency work independently when it is under the control of the government which itself is not an independent body?
Elected representatives belong to different political parties and political parties have their own agenda and connections which they would never want to be investigated. The government can never be trusted to initiate an investigation against its party and people – no matter how strong the charges against them are. If the CBI is an investigating body, then the next steps after investigation are filing cases, prosecution and possible punishment. So when there is this direct connection between the CBI and the judiciary why are the CBI and all other investigating bodies that investigate issues within the country not under the judiciary? Why hasn’t the judiciary taken the initiative to bring all of them under its control?
There is a subtle game that is being played out with the removal of Alok Verma. He has simply been forced to go on leave. CVC is aware that they do not have the authority to oust him from his position as the CBI chief. They are also fully aware that Verma can and will challenge this in Supreme Court. They also know that they do not have the authority to appoint a new CBI chief. Then why this laborious exercise?
There are parties with vested interests that do not want Verma to continue doing what he has been doing, and the objective is clearly to recover and possibly destroy all or some specific work that Verma and his team have been doing. The case details that Verma has lodged at the Supreme Court is pointing towards the Prime Minister’s office. Social media is abuzz with the rumour that Verma had initiated the investigation into the Rafale deal and had even asked for documents from the defence ministry.
Verma’s tenure is about to end in January 2019. Going to the judiciary will keep him locked up in the case, and by the time he gets a favourable verdict, his tenure will have ended. Meanwhile, the interim CBI chief has initiated an investigation against Asthana, the poster boy of the PM’s office. If the interim chief gives him a clean chit, it will open the door for his appointment as the new CBI chief in January.
If the rumours about whatever has transpired within the CBI are true, then it is the biggest incriminating evidence against the entire government in the Rafale deal. Then the government will have no credibility left to continue in office. What social media is wondering now is, where are the opposition parties and why they have not taken to the streets yet. Their silence is proof of the fact that none of the political parties wants CBI or any investigating agency to have wings to fly. The entire system is corrupt, and CBI could be having incriminating evidence against all of them.
The democratic machinery of the country has been slowly dying over the years and the incidents in the last two days clearly show it is in its final throes of death. An electoral exercise in 2019 is insensible and completely futile. There are no political parties with enough credibility to govern the country. The civil administration and the political system needs complete cleansing and overhaul which is possible only when the President and the judiciary join hands and bring investigating agencies under their watch. I believe what the country desperately needs now is a five year President’s rule and not another election.
I sincerely hope the Supreme Court takes cognisance of this and save the country and people from further deterioration of the federal structure and the abuse of the Constitution and democracy to the point of no return.