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PM tells CBI not to paralyse govt

The comments come in the backdrop of pressure built by the Opposition parties in the matter of alleged scam in the allotment of coal blocks when Singh was in charge of the ministry. Even the Supreme Court had commented adversely on the functioning of the agency, calling it a caged parrot.

Speaking at the international conference on ‘Evolving Common Strategies to Combat Corruption and Crime’ organised by the CBI on its golden jubilee function, Singh said: ‘While actions that prima facie show malafide intent or pecuniary gain should certainly be questioned, pronouncing decisions taken with no ill-intention within the prevailing policy as criminal misconduct would certainly be flawed and excessive.’ The CBI, ironically, is celebrating its golden jubilee when its very existence has come under question following a Gauhati High Court order.

‘That the debate on autonomy has acquired political overtones is indeed unfortunate. What is almost as distressing is that sensitive investigations are increasingly becoming subjects of running media commentary, often on the basis of material that is not otherwise in the public domain,’ he said.

The address comes days after the CBI had booked industrialist Kumar Manglam Birla and former coal secretary PC Parakh for corruption. Singh had even backed Parakh after eruption of the controversy on the ‘competent authority’ who took the decision and had said that ‘he is ready to face the CBI if the agency wants.’  Singh said lines of confidence must be clearly drawn between investigating agencies on the one hand and honest executive functionaries on the other so that public servants may not be paralysed in taking effective decisions based on sound judgement.

The BJP  however dismissed Singh’s remarks and claimed the probe agency has been consistently misused by the ruling Congress party. ‘Over the years, we have cautioned the government about how the CBI has been used as a tool by the Congress,’ BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitaraman said.
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