New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday directed the CBI, which is investigating high-profile 2G and CWG scams, to thoroughly investigate these cases, produce quick results and act without fear to bring to book those guilty.
“The handling of these cases constitutes a litmus test for you,” he told the top brass of the CBI at a function to inaugurate the new CBI headquarters, although he did not specifically refer to the 2G or Commonwealth scams in which the agency has arrested top corporate honchos as well as sacked chairman of CWG organizing committee Suresh Kalmadi and former telecom minister A. Raja.
Describing these as “high-profile” cases, the PM said in a forthright address that “the CBI should act without fear or favour and bring to book all those who are guilty, irrespective of their position or status.
“I would advise the CBI to put your heads down and work hard, away from the media glare, to ensure early resolution of these cases,” the Prime Minister said.
Singh refereed to his address at the Civil Services Week during which he had spoken about the problem of corruption and the growing “impatience of our people to see quick action for tackling it”.
“The CBI is today investigating many high profile cases of corruption that have attracted a great deal of public attention,” he said, adding “what is expected of you is thorough investigation, fair action and quick results.”
The Prime Minister also had a word of caution for the sleuths, saying that it was important for the CBI to ensure that its judgement always remains rooted in “hard evidence and is not influenced by extraneous factors”.
“Ours is an open and free society. There will be many views and opinions on all issues. The CBI has to be sensitive to these but it has always to do what is right and correct,” he said and added that there was only one “guiding beacon” -- only one gold standard and that is the law of the land.
“Whoever transgresses it, however mighty, he has to be brought to book. At the same time, CBI has to avoid harassment to those who act in good faith in the discharge of their duties.”
Singh cautioned the CBI that there should be no vendetta, no witch-hunt and no harassment of the innocent. “There should be no apprehension of punitive action for bona fide mistakes as we cannot afford an environment that breeds fear, inaction and indecision.”
The Prime Minister acknowledged that investigation was only one part of the process to bring the guilty to book.
“Trials have also to be conducted, and conducted speedily. We have decided to set up 71 additional special courts for dealing with cases entrusted to the CBI. I am told that 64 of these have now been sanctioned but only 16 are operational,” he said.
He asked minister of state for department of personnel V. Narayanasamy to pursue the matter with the states. “We have already agreed to reimburse the costs incurred in setting up of these courts and it is necessary that the states get persuaded to provide the necessary infrastructure and personnel at the earliest,” he said.
The government remains committed to give the CBI “necessary independence and operational flexibility” besides providing it manpower, finances and the technology that the agency requires, Singh said.
He said the officers, men and women working in the CBI have a difficult task to perform and it was “essential that they are looked after well and they have the necessary technical and other resources required for their work.”
The Prime Minister said there is a loud clamour for investigations to be handed over to the CBI, whenever there is a gruesome crime, a complex case, a politically-sensitive matter or large-scale fraud.
Over the years the CBI has proved itself well as an independent, professional and competent investigating agency, he said.
“It has set benchmarks for other investigating outfits in our country to emulate. But there is room for improvement. I would urge the officers of the CBI to strive tirelessly to set even higher standards of work,” the Prime Minister said.
Union home minister P. Chidambaram, telecom minister Kapil Sibal, national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, senior bureaucrats including cabinet secretary K. M. Chandrasekhar and home secretary G. K. Pillai were present at the function besides former CBI directors including P. C. Sharma, who is known as the founding father of the new building.
The new CBI headquarters has been built at a cost of Rs186 crore by the National Buildings Construction Company Limited, a government of India enterprise.
The 11-storeyed building house all wings of the country’s premier investigating agency.
The building is equipped with modern communication systems, advanced systems for maintaining records, fitted storage space and computerized access control along with provision of add-on facility for new technology.
Interrogation rooms, lock-ups, dormitories and conference halls are also provided at various floors.