Maha’ Govt to revoke ‘general consent’ to CBI

19 August, 2022 | Pranay Lad

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In light of the state’s ongoing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation, the Maharashtra administration is reportedly considering a critical decision. The government of Eknath Shi...

In light of the state’s ongoing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation, the Maharashtra administration is reportedly considering a critical decision. The government of Eknath Shinde Devendra Fadnavis is anticipated to shortly ease the limitation on the CBI investigation, according to sources.

The CBI was subject to limitations set by the preceding Maha Vikas Aghadi administration, which mandated that the central agency obtain state government approval before opening an investigation.

Except for Maharashtra, eight non-BJP states since 2015 have revoked this broad consent given to the CBI: Punjab, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, and Meghalaya. In order to conduct any investigations after this withdrawal, the central investigative agency had to either ask the state government for explicit authorization or go through the legal system.

The Maharashtra government’s lack of cooperation prevented the CBI from opening investigations into 101 cases of financial fraud worth more than 20,000 crore rupees, the Rajya Sabha was informed in March. According to state government sources, the issue of restoring the general permission grant will shortly be presented before the competent authority (the state cabinet).

The official pointed out that the state government was currently considering many requests from the CBI for permission to examine incidents of fraud in the banking and financial services industries.

According to information presented in the Rajya Sabha in July, the MVA government had received 91 requests from the CBI to investigate government personnel in the previous six months. Up to 221 requests for permission for CBI investigations were still pending in six states, with Maharashtra having the largest number (168) and a total cost of ₹29,000 crores.

“The CBI must now either request a court order or make a request to the state government. This is counterproductive because the people involved might become aware of it and endanger the evidence that could otherwise be used to convict them. The element of surprise is gone. The official said that the outcomes of a surprise raid did not line up with those of an organised raid.

The state would allow the CBI to investigate instances involving frauds of ₹13,044 crores in nationalised banks, the state will allow the CBI to do so, then-home minister Dilip Walse-Patil announced to the state parliament in March. The state government, according to BJP leader Ashish Shelar, has been delaying the CBI’s request for authorization to look into 13 allegations of financial fraud at nationalised banks like Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, and Union Bank of India.

The CBI was instructed to take over the probe into IPS officer Rashmi Shukla’s alleged violation of the Official Secrets Act from the Mumbai police in July by the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis administration.

The Mumbai police cyber unit filed an FIR in March 2021 against unidentified individuals for leaking a secret report submitted by Shukla that contained information about the usage of slush funds and political ties to aid the transfers and postings of senior police personnel. The CBI was also given custody of another case involving allegations of extortion and criminal intimidation by BJP minister Girish Mahajan.

The aforementioned person stated that although the decision was made politically because the home department is currently aligned with the BJP, it would speed up some investigations, particularly those involving financial scams.

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