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Fix sleuth house from the top

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) needs to get its house in order now. India’s premier investigating agency has been on the receiving end of vitriolic remarks ever since news emerged about the level of complicity, the now removed director; Ranjit Sinha had got himself involved in.

What has tumbled since then, appears not only murky but also casts huge aspersions on how exactly CBI functions. CBI director’s accessibility is proof enough of the fact that officials in the agency are contacted on a routine basis by Hawala dealers, by lobbyists and by accused in high profile scams which involve a huge amount of money.

The apex court in a bench headed by the Chief Justice may have said that the removal is a part of a cleanup process and to help the agency from its image being tarnished and its image and reputation being safeguarded against, but shouldn’t it be the prerogative of the agency and more importantly the Government of India to check the antecedents of every officer who works in the hallowed annals of the CBI? Can it get any worse for the CBI director than being asked to demit office just 12 days before his retirement? Investigations are certainly not carried out at express speeds in this country and the apex court may have been really sickened that it took a decision to remove him sine die and is keeping him off limits of the 2G scam investigation. To not trust an officer of the stature of the CBI director is in itself a reflection of the mood that has been set in the corridors of the Indian democracy.

The Supreme Court should also reconsider its own earlier stand where in it asked senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan who is also a member of the Aam Aadmi Party and who filed a petition on behalf of the Centre for Public Interest Litigation to reveal the name of the whistleblower who had allegedly given the visitor’s notebook of Sinha’s official residence. If the names of whistleblowers are to be disclosed with such openness in a country where a bullet speaks more than human emotions, then we must think and mirror the virtues of the forward thinking society we are living in.

Whistleblowers need to be protected always. If they are not, how else do you think revelations like those against people like Ranjit Sinha will come out? Being the director of an agency like CBI calls for personal integrity of the highest order and Ranjit Sinha should’ve understood this much before. The consternation that his actions have caused CBI are too grave to be washed away. Confidence which has been lost in the agency’s affairs may now take aeons to get back.

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