Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Central Bureau of Investigation
Mains level: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
• The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), as talented and dedicated supervisors with a sound knowledge of the law and of unquestioned integrity.
• It is also an outfit with a few glaring shortcomings, such as the enormous delay taken in completing many an investigation and having in its ranks a set of black sheep who have brought ignominy to the organisation.
• The CBI’s performance in recent times has been a mixed bag, with its moments of glory alongside its moments of shame.
• The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was set up in 1963 by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Later, it was transferred to the Ministry of Personnel and now it enjoys the status of an attached office.
• The Special Police Establishment (which looked into vigilance cases) setup in 1941 was also merged with the CBI.
• The establishment of the CBI was recommended by the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption (1962–1964). The CBI is not a statutory body. It derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
• The CBI is the main investigating agency of the Central Government. It plays an important role in the prevention of corruption and maintaining integrity in administration. It also provides assistance to the Central Vigilance Commission and Lokpal.
The Nirav Modi, Mallya cases:
• The Nirav Modi case which was very much in the news recently is testimony to the CBI’s capacity to execute a professional job, provided it is given a free hand.
• Extradition of accused persons who have fled India is the toughest task before the CBI. In this, we have had a few successes and many failures the CBI has done a thorough job in the Nirav Modi case, in ferreting out all details and presenting them before the London court.
• The CBI can rightfully gloat over its success in the Nirav Modi case. The order (February 25, 2021) of a Westminster Magistrate’s Court, London did not mince words. It confirmed that the accused had indeed committed an extraditable crime.
• This is a shot in the arm for the CBI investigators. This was undoubtedly the outcome of sustained investigation for two years after overcoming the many obstacles put up by an accused person with enormous influence.
• CBI was able to get the help of two former Indian judges (one of who was a former Supreme Court judge) to exploit the alleged loopholes in the prosecution story. However, this ploy did not succeed.
Strategies by the accused:
• In all cases of extradition, the ruse of the accused was mainly to dispute that he had committed an extraditable offence. The endeavour here was to prove that the offence alleged against him was not in the statutes of the country where he is living.
• Another stand which an accused usually takes is to allege that political considerations had weighed in the mind of the requesting country in demanding extradition.
• A third strategy was on trying to prove that the country seeking transfer of the offender did not fulfil human rights requirements, particularly in respect of hygiene in the prison in which he was proposed to be lodged.
• The London judge rejected all three contentions put forward by Mr. Modi’s counsel, and this reflected the thoroughness with which the CBI had done its job.
The extradition treaty with India:
• India and the UK signed an extradition treaty in 1992. Since then, the UK has accepted only two requests for extradition of a fugitive living in that country. All other requests remain pending till date. Extradition proceedings are slow in the UK.
• The Extradition Act, 2003 The Extradition Treaty provides the broad framework that governs the extradition between India and the UK. The relevant domestic UK law that governs extradition proceedings is the Extradition Act.
• Since 2002, foreign countries have extradited 75 fugitive offenders to India. Of these, 24 fugitive offenders have been extradited to India in the last five years.
• These individuals have been extradited to India from more than 20 countries including the United Arab Emirates, Canada, United State of America and United Kingdom.
Financial fraud is a maze:
• A novel modus operandi was employed to hoodwink many in the top echelons of the bank in connection with the Letters of Undertaking and the bank’s core banking system.
• This was a new lesson to learn for bank fraud investigators and the banking industry. Talk of tightening lending procedures becomes meaningless if a bank employee decides to turn a rogue and is able to successfully hide major unauthorised concessions.
• This is analogous to many attacks admitted to by financial corporation’s across the globe during the past few decades on their computer systems, where one bad employee (who had authorised access to sensitive information) can wreck all security arrangements.
• A final thought. The public should be made to understand that financial crime in current times is too complicated for agencies such as the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) to unravel all the facts in quick time.
• In all such matters, another instrument of torture for the prosecution is the so-called Letter Rogatory (LR), which the relevant court in India will have to issue to the corresponding court abroad to get hold of documents or examining witnesses in the countries involved.
• This is a painfully long-drawn-out process which many influential accused persons have taken advantage of. Courts in India are sometimes unfair to the investigating agencies by lambasting them for being responsible for delays, ignoring the fact that it is quite often the foreign government concerned which is dragging its feet.
• This is part of the huge number of travails that the prosecution faces in pinning down the guilty. Agencies such as the CBI and ED are sometimes the favourite whipping boys of the public and, unfortunately, sometimes of the judiciary.
• The state government’s consent is mandatory for a CBI investigation in its jurisdiction and the agency cannot conduct probe without its nod, the Supreme Court has verdict recently. This verdict of SC may put limitation and time lag over CBI investigation
• As an extradition treaty made by India with that foreign State providing for extradition in respect of the offences specified in that Convention, In recent case CBI perforce shows that Indian Government most take some steps to make extradition treaty mare easy in big crime case.
Q.1) With reference to the Places of Worship (Special Provision) Act, 1991, consider the following statements:
1. The Act mandates that the character of all religious places of worship should be maintained as it was on August 15, 1947.
2. This effectively barred courts from entertaining cases which raise disputes over places of worship that existed as of August 15, 1947.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2