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Acute staff crunch in CBI hampers ongoing investigations

Acute staff crunch in CBI hampers ongoing investigations
The Central Bureau of Investigation- the premier investigating agency of the country is grappling with an acute shortage of officers to handle ongoing corruption cases. Out of a sanctioned strength of 5,000 personnel in the executive ranks, currently, the number of occupied positions stands at 3932 - 21 per cent short of its requirement. Other executive ranks, too, it is a similar picture with only 1,748 posts out of a sanctioned 2,274 being occupied. The latest parliamentary report states: "The Committee expresses its displeasure over the persistent shortage of manpower in these institutions over last many decades and impresses upon the department to devise a potent mechanism to ensure filling of all vacancies at the earliest."

In response to a query on the fate of pending cases, it has been discovered that as of December 31, 2017, the CBI has a total of 1,156 cases waiting for assessment. Of this number, 664 cases are related to corruption and 67 cases have been pending for over three years. The Parliamentary Committee has expressed deep concern over the staff crunch at the CBI. This is not the first time the Parliamentary Committee has expressed its concern, the issue was previously highlighted in a report presented by the Committee on the demands for grants in the year 2016-17. The committee is apprehensive that the existing vacancies would inversely affect the performance of the agency, which would be brought to public knowledge.

The committee in its report pointed out that the country has been facing impediments on several fronts such as internal security, transnational terrorism, cyber-crimes, and corruption among others. The report states: "We cannot afford to have such a premier agency understaffed and struggling with resource crunch." To overcome the perennial problem of lasting vacancies in the CBI, the Committee recommends that the government must consider making direct recruitments at the level of Group A officers, employed through the UPSC Civil Service examinations. The Committee also suggested that the terms of deputation to the CBI be made more attractive to draft in more capable officers from the State Police Forces, Central Para-military and Intelligence Bureau.

The CBI in its submission before the Committee stated that one of the major reasons why investigators do not come on deputation is the lack of available housing facilities. There is a sense of dissatisfaction regarding the quality of housing available pan- nationally, especially in the national capital where the headquarters are situated.

The Committee too responded, expressing its dissatisfaction over the failure of the CBI to judiciously utilise funds allocated for housing its personnel.

The Parliamentary Committee on Personnel and Public grievances also brought to notice the shortcoming of officers and staff across organisations under the Ministry's watch. As of January 1, 2016- of the 6,396 sanctioned posts for the IAS only 4296 had been occupied, leaving 1470 still vacant.
Gautam Lahiri

Gautam Lahiri

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