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‘Courts refer cases to CBI without manpower’

The Supreme Court and High Courts are handing over a large number of sensitive cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for probe without additional manpower, the government said, while highlighting the acute staff crunch the agency is grappling with.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which acts as a nodal authority for the CBI, has asked all states to send officers to fill large vacancies in the agency.

The CBI is facing acute staff crunch in the rank of constable, head constable, inspector and superintendent of police. To fill these vacancies, the agency has requested all state governments to send the names of willing officials to join the CBI on deputation basis several times, a communique from DoPT said. The problem is especially acute in the wake of the Supreme Court and High Courts handing over a large number of sensitive cases to the CBI for investigation without any additional manpower, it said. 

In a related development, a Parliamentary committee had late last year criticised judicial activism of the Supreme and higher courts by overseeing investigation and passing interim directions to the CBI, saying that it may appear to be a colourable exercise of power by them. 

Recently, the government has also sanctioned 598 new posts for the CBI to investigate the Vyapam and chit fund or ponzi scam cases. However, these posts have not been filled up so far, the DoPT said.

It cited a verdict of the Apex Court, which had directed that steps be taken to fill up the existing vacancies expeditiously.  

The issue will be discussed during a meeting scheduled to be held on April 22 by Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh with Principal Secretaries (of Personnel or General Administration Department) of state governments. The matter was also raised by the CBI before the members in the last meeting of Personnel and GAD secretaries.

As per the latest data, there are 1,641 vacant posts in the CBI against its sanctioned strength of 7,274. The matter of establishment of four additional special courts – three in West Bengal and one in Andhra Pradesh– will also be discussed during the meeting.

Of 22 additional special courts, 18 have become operational. Four such courts– one each in Visakhapatnam (AP) and Asansol, and two in Alipore– have not become operational yet, the DoPT said.

Issues like status of abolition of interviews for recruitment to majority of government jobs, meeting in Union Public Service Commission regarding promotion of officials from state civil service to IAS and simplification of procedure for issuance of caste certificates among others will also be discussed during the meeting.
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