Millennium Post

After Chandrababu, Mamata withdraws free pass to CBI

NEW DELHI/KOLKATA: Hours after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu declared that the CBI could not conduct raids or investigations in his state without permission, his counterpart in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, too has withdrawn the free pass or "general consent" to the country's top investigation agency.

Rules for the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI say it has complete jurisdiction over Delhi but can enter other states with the "general consent" of their government. The West Bengal government had in 1989 given the CBI a general consent order.

Banerjee had, earlier in the day, supported Chandrababu Naidu's move. "Chandrababu Naidu has done the right thing in saying he wouldn't allow CBI in his state. The BJP can be 'note changer', but it's not a game changer," she had said.

Andhra Pradesh government, announcing the withdrawal of the general consent, also empowered the state investigation agency with the CBI's duties.

A "confidential" order withdrawing CBI's free pass in Andhra Pradesh was issued on November 8, three months after the state government allowed the CBI to exercise its powers and jurisdiction in the state. The order was leaked out on Thursday.

Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister (Home) N China Rajappa justified the state government's action saying it was taken in the backdrop of specific allegations against the country's premier investigating agency.

"We have trust in the CBI, but the recent allegations against its top officials have made us withdraw the general consent. Henceforth, the CBI has to obtain the state governments permission for investigating every case," Rajappa told reporters at the Secretariat.

The general consent was withdrawn on the advice of lawyers and intellectuals, the deputy chief minister claimed.

Even the government in neighbouring Karnataka withdrew the general consent for the CBI, he pointed out.

Rajappa, however, clarified that the CBI could take up an investigation against central government officials without the state's permission.

"We will grant necessary permission whenever the CBI makes a request," he added.

"In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the government hereby withdraws the general consent accorded (in GO Ms 109) to all the members of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise the powers and jurisdiction under the said Act in the state of Andhra Pradesh," the latest government order (GO) said.

In March, Chandrababu Naidu pulled out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance over demands for special status to Andhra Pradesh.

Recently, he also accused the centre of undermining the credibility of the CBI for its gains.

The BJP alleged that it was an attempt by a "grand alliance of most corrupt parties" to ensure that its "corruption" was not exposed.

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