Maharashtra govt withdraws general consent to CBI; agency now needs approval to probe cases

The move implies that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will now have to take permission of the state government on a case by case basis to start investigation in the state

FP Staff October 22, 2020 00:05:03 IST
Maharashtra govt withdraws general consent to CBI; agency now needs approval to probe cases

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The Maharashtra government on Wednesday issued on order withdrawing consent accorded to the members of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) to exercise the powers and jurisdiction under an act in the state.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will not have general consent, accorded by the Maharashtra government by an order on 22 February, 1989, to exercise its powers and jurisdiction in the state and will have to get the state government's permission to probe any matter.

In layman terms, it implies that the CBI will not be able to register any fresh case involving a central government official or a private person stationed in the state without getting state government's consent in the specific case, The Indian Express said quoting a former CBI official.

The move comes at a time when two recent high-profile cases, first registered in Maharashtra, reached at the CBI's doors via secondary FIRs registered in BJP-ruled states.

The CBI has recently taken over probe in two cases that were under media glare: the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and the fake TRP scam in which Mumbai Police has charged several news channels of tampering with the TRP system.

"In exercise of the powers conferred by section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (25 of 1946), the Government of Maharashtra hereby withdraws the consent accorded to the members of Delhi Special Police Establishment," the order read.

The Bollywood actor's death case was being probed by Mumbai Police, which prima facie termed it a suicide. However, the investigation into the case was later handed over to the CBI after NDA government in Bihar referred the case to the agency following an FIR by actor's family in the state capital Patna.

Likewise, the CBI took over the probe in the fake TRP case on Tuesday based on a complaint filed in Uttar Pradesh, although the case originally came to light in Mumbai and is also being investigated by the city's police.

The FIR was registered by a Delhi-based government empaneled ad agency, Golden Rabbit Communications on Saturday in Lucknow, the capital of BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, according to a report by NDTV

The report claims that the CBI's aide was requested by the state government on Monday, which was cleared by the Central government within 24 hours. The CBI, then officially filed its FIR by Tuesday, according to PTI.

The alleged fake TRP scam came to light when ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint with the Mumbai Police through Hansa Research Group, alleging that certain channels were rigging TRP numbers to lure advertisers.

It was alleged that some families at whose houses meters for collecting data of viewership were installed were being bribed to tune into a particular channel.

The Mumbai Police has named four TV channels so far, including Republic TV, which has been demanding a CBI probe, accusing the Mumbai police of abusing authority to get back at the channel over its reportage in the Rajput case which it says was highly critical of the Mumbai Police.

The channel had also approached the apex court in the matter, alleging unfair treatment by the police in the Shiv Sena-ruled state. The Supreme Court, however, refused to admit the TV channel's petition saying that the channel should instead approach the Bombay High Court "like any other citizen facing investigation". The channel has now moved the Bombay HC and has asked it to transfer the Mumbai Police case to the CBI, who, it said, were biased.

 

Maharashtra is not the first Opposition ruled state to have taken such a step. Earlier, states like West Bengal (TMC-ruled) and Rajasthan (Congress-ruled) made the same move.

 

With inputs from PTI

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