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Millennium Post

CBI, open cases but finish probes

It’s all very well for the Supreme Court to order the CBI to probe the nefarious nexus between corporate, bureaucrats and lobbyists, apropos the Niira Radia tapes, but what would be the outcome in realistic terms? That the apex court has now stated it categorically – putting the spotlight on how favours were shown to top business houses such as Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd, Anil Ambani’s ADAG group, the Tatas, among others, insofar as working of touts, kickbacks, manipulation of stocks and illegal gratification of tax officials through bribes and other means were resorted to, almost ritually, to chalk out the shady deals that cumulatively became the 2G spectrum scam – is a relief to the corruption-beaten nation, of course. But, unfortunately enough, the SC order would not be enough for the CBI to actually investigate the nitty-gritty of the cases, since the agency has already been proven many a time to be simply following the orders of its political masters, as evident in the current fiasco that is driving the Coalgate exposition. In the light of the absolute mayhem that the Bureau has created on the national dais, framing charges against a top corporate chief and a bureaucrat without sufficient evidence to back up its claims and pretty much losing its face, and not being able to hold ground in the microscopic scrutiny done in the print and television media in the wake of the FIRs, the agency’s ragtag credibility has undergone even more, perhaps irreparable, damage.

However, in a country that believes in the virtue of forgiveness and survives on a very short public memory, the Bureau can hope to regain some of its lost stature by taking seriously the probes that are ongoing or in the pipeline. As a remedial measure, the CBI can pledge to undertake the Radia tape investigations thoroughly and without external influence, though the latter seems almost impossible in the corruption-infested political scenario at present. What the agency must understand is that it is simply not enough to open fresh cases and frame chargesheet against people, when the growing weight of pending cases is crushing the nation and its polity on a daily basis, and shoddy investigation that are unable to stand the test of judicial oversight. The Bureau must gear up to look into the points highlighted by the bench of the apex court, such as allotment of coal blocks to Sasan Power Project (ADAG Group) or the allocation of iron ore mines at Ankua, in Singhbhum District of Jharkhand to Tata Steel. In sum, the Bureau has almost all the necessary directions that it needs from the SC, particularly the advisories on probe into the implications of the conversations that were recorded on the Radia tapes, involving bureaucrats, corporates, politicians, mediapersons et al, and therefore, all it really needs to do is to follow the leads without fear. But, the moot question is, can it do that?
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