Govt will do everything necessary to establish legitimacy of CBI: PM
Addressing a CBI conference on tackling corruption, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that while the government will try its best to quell doubts raised on the CBI's legality, the premier investigative agency should also be able to tell between real criminal action and non-motivated errors in judgement.
New Delhi: While promising the CBI that the government would do its best to quell doubts on the CBI's legality, the Prime Minister today said the premier investigative agency should also be able to tell between real criminal action and errors in judgement.
"The government will do everything necessary to establish the need and legitimacy of the CBI," Singh said while addressing a CBI conference on tackling corruption.
The UPA and the CBI had very recently locked horns over the missing Coalgate files where the investigative agency had made repeated demands for the files and was backed by the Supreme Court in seeking greater autonomy. In fact, the PM declared that he had nothing to hide and volunteered to be questioned by the CBI.
Singh promised to 'urgently and seriously' look into the questions raised on the legality of the agency after a bench of the Gauhati High Court recently declared the CBI unconstitutional.
The government consequently filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the judgment and managed to get a stay on the Gauhati court's order.
The Prime Minister then seemed to take a very subtle dig at critics of the CBI and such government agencies, by saying, "We can't be running down institutions of the government all the time because there have been few cases of wrongdoing."
Though it is difficult to say if the target was the opposition's constant hammering of the CBI or the agency's dispute with the government itself, Singh did send out a veiled warning to critics of the government.
He also justified the need to keep serious investigations under wraps and hence said that the CBI was rightly kept outside the ambit of the RTI Act.
"The mainstream media commentary on ensuing investigations shouldn't be allowed and strict confidentiality should be maintained," he said.
The Prime Minister also said that while no one could interfere in the investigative process being carried out by agencies like the CBI there had to be oversight by the executive.
"The police and investigating agencies are a part of the executive and must function under its administrative supervision," he said.
He also said that there were difficulties in policy making and it was important to distinguish between criminality and error in judgement.
"Policy making is a multi-layered process. I don't think it is right for investigating agency to judge policy without evidence of mala fide," he said.
He also said it was important that "lines of confidence" were drawn between investigating agencies and honest public officials so that the latter were not wrongly targeted leading to policy paralysis.
"It is important that errors of judgement are distinguished from criminal acts... Decision making in world of uncertainty is very difficult," he said.
Singh listed the measures taken by the UPA to ensure a clean and transparent government. The Prime Minister spoke about the RTI, the initiatives taken to enact the Lokpal, setting up of Lokayuktas and the Special Police Establishment and the reduction of public servants' discretionary powers as measures taken to ensure transparent governance.
He acknowledged the fact that with growth comes the risk of complex economic offences and the government needs to make sure that such attempts don't succeed.
"The public debate around corruption also needs to concentrate on issues like improving infrastructure, delivery of public services," he added.
The Prime Minister also urged the CBI to help state investigative agencies.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
'Insidious and rabid': SC stays Sudarshan TV from broadcasting 'UPSC jihad' show, calls on media to self-regulate
The apex court said the manner in which some media houses are conducting debates is cause for concern as all type of defamatory things are being said
Seven ex-bureaucrats move SC over Sudarshan News 'UPSC jihad' show, urge order on scope of hate speech
The Delhi HC earlier declined to stay the telecast of the series which claimed to "expose the conspiracy of Muslims to infiltrate civil services"
Supreme Court extends relief on NPAs after govt says interest issue being considered at 'highest level'
The Centre told the court an expert panel has been set up to look into the interest being charged by banks on instalments deferred during the moratorium