List of high profile cases where CBI failed to cross hurdle of judicial critical scrutiny
The Central Bureau of Investigation CBI is the topmost investigation agency of India, established in 1942. It works under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. CBI initially was set up to investigate bribes and corruption in government organizations. In 1965 its jurisdiction was expanded to investigate central law breaches, organized crimes, multi-state organized crimes, multi-agency, murder, terrorism, kidnapping and international cases. It is exempted from Right To Information and is the official point of contact with the international police or Interpol.
The present head of is Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, who has worked in Research and Analysis Wing (RA&W) and Intelligence Bureau. It has ten regional offices in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Guwahati, Kolkata, Patna, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Bhopal and Delhi.
It has different divisions like anticorruption zone, economic offences zone, bank security and fraud zone, special crime zone, multidisciplinary monitoring agency, special task force zone, forensic coordination zone, policy division etc. CBI has a high conviction rate of 66.8% in 2016. CBI had come under fire from various sections of the judiciary and Supreme Court when Chief Justice RM Lodha duped CBI as a caged parrot working on the whims and wishes of his master, namely the government.
Apart from this, former officials like Joginder Singh and BR Lall have alleged that CBI engages in wrongful prosecution, corruption and nepotism. In BR Lall’s last book ‘ Who owns the CBI’, he explained how the investigation tries to derail and manipulate cases. An RTI activist Krishnanand Tripathi revealed information about corruption and illegal practices in the CBI and was harassed by the CBI to save their reputation. Since the central government can hand over sensitive cases to the CBI, CBI has been criticised for inadequate investigation procedures while interrogating prominent leaders like PV Narsimha Rao, Jayalalithaa, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati.
Therefore poor charge sheet and investigation led to their acquittal and non-prosecution. It is a standard practice for CBI or any law enforcement agency to demand more custody after arrest to gather evidence. A lot of pomp and show is made while arresting an accused, and stories are spread across the media. Claims are usually exaggerated; hence the case prepared by the CBI is destroyed in court in minutes, as happened in the 2G scam.
Let’s look at the top case the CBI failed to solve or where CBI followed a sloppy practice of investigation
Arushi murder case- The murder of Aarushi Talwar and staff Hemraj rocked the country. The theory provided by the CBI was declared an impossible hypothesis and patently absurd by the Allahabad High Court in October. The court later acquitted Aarushi‘s parents Nupur and Rajesh Talwar, because the CBI’s prosecution was careless and unprofessional. The investigation failed to prove that the Talwars had destroyed the evidence of killing their daughter. Ghaziabad court later convicted the parents, were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013.
Harshad Mehta scam- In a book called ‘Scam: from Harshad Mehta to Global Trust Bank’ Sucheta Dalal and Debashis Bose threw light on how CBI tried to mislead the investigation. Instead of prompt charge-sheet filing and completing the enquiry, the CBI spread stories about K Madhavan‘s resignation and Mehta‘s role in financing narcotics.
After facing the heat from the committee, CBI spread a false rumour about freezing Harshad Mehta’s assets. They also arrested K Magarbanthu of the Union Commercial Bank and held him in custody for weeks. Was anyone punished- no one.
2G spectrum case- The 2G spectrum case shook the Manmohan Singh led second UPA government. The CBI filed charge sheets in four different directions, which summed up to be more than one lakh pages. Special CBI Judge OP Saini adjudicated the 2G case and let the Essar Group and Loop Telecom promoters off the case. Even after filing a colossal chargesheet the CBI could not secure a single conviction. The charge sheet filed by CBI was sloppy and had exaggerated claims taken apart in the court. Was anyone punished – no one.
Bofors case- India and Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors agreed o Rs.1 437 crores. The deal would provide the Indian army with 400 155mm howitzer guns. The Swedish radio claims that AB Bofors has bribed top Indian politicians. Delhi High Court scolded CBI in Bofors case that their sloppy investigation has cost the exchequer Rs.250 crore. The poor charge sheet did not stand judicial enquiry, and all the charges against the Hinduja brothers – Gopichand Prakashchand and ShriChand and the Bofors company were quashed. Was anyone punished – no one.
Bellary Mining case- The famous Bellary mining case had the name of BS Yeddyurappa, which cost him his CM post. Apart from Yeddyurappa and his bribery charges, mining baron and former BJP minister Gali Janardhan Reddy were also identified in case files. These two ministers used their political influence to derail the case. The CBI told the commerce department that no prima facie case could be made out of the information. That’s how the Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining case of Karnataka was buried. Surprisingly the Enforcement Directorate ED did not file an appeal with the Supreme Court. Was anyone punished – no one.
Rajiv Gandhi murder case- CBI is a caged parrot and an authority that needs some time off from political interventions. Indian law enforcement agencies should be ashamed of themselves because they still cannot bring justice to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. As far as the news is out multidisciplinary monitoring agency is still investigating the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on 21 May 1991; after 30 years of assassination, the investigation is still pending!
Moin Qureshi case- The CBI experienced a drama of their own when director Alok Verma and special director Rajeev Asthana started throwing mud on each other. Both Asthana and Verma alleged each other for taking bribes. It all started with the Moin Qureshi case, where Asthana alleged that Verma had accepted two crore rupees. And Verma backfired by saying that Asthana took a bribe from Satish Babu Sana, the businessman, to quash the Qureshi case FIR.
Punjab national bank scam- The uncle nephew duo is on the run in this case which involves ₹13578 crore fraud. Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi are on the run. Recent images of Mehul Choksi, badly beaten and in a jail surfaced. Since the uncle-nephew duo escaped right under the nose of CBI, nothing has been achieved so far.
DLF scam against Vadra- Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, the Congress supremo, was alleged under the DLF land grab scam. Vadra‘s company skylight hospitality bought a 3.5 acre plot in Sheikhpura village in Manesar and sold it for ₹58 crores. Before CBI could do anything, he was given a clean chit.
Vijay Mallya case- The owner of Kingfisher beer and Kingfisher airlines is also on the run. He is accused of bank fraud of ₹9000 crores; Asthana headed the investigation that followed after Vijay Mallya escaped to the United Kingdom in 2016. The banks may have seized his properties, but Vijay Mallya still lives in the comfort of his home in the UK. Was anyone punished –no one.
Other cases like AugustaWestland, Vyapam scam, Saradha chit fund scam, AJL land scam case, IRCTC scam, Sterling Biotech case- the list is endless. Was anyone punished- no one!