SC tightens noose on corrupt babus
The Supreme Court also observed that the impunity of prior approval for probing graft charges against officers at level of joint secretary and above has traditionally shielded the corrupt. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had petitioned the court against section 6A of Delhi Police Act arguing that it discriminates while investigating a senior or junior officer.
The apex court said such a classification of bureaucrats for investigation purposes violated Article 14 of the Constitution which mandated that law would treat everyone equally. ‘Prior permission from the Centre to probe corruption charges against joint secretary level officers would fetter the CBI from collecting evidence and also alert the corrupt to destroy evidence,’ the Supreme Court added.
‘Protection of prior approval for probing graft charges against officers at level of joint secretary and above has propensity of shielding corruption,’ the Supreme Court said. This is the second time the apex court is striking down the single directive provision in Delhi Special Police Establishment Act. Senior Supreme court advocate Prashant Bhushan said the apex court judgment was historic and it will curb corruption at highest level of bureaucracy.
‘The Supreme Court’s Constitution bench has on Tuesday in a historic judgment struck down the single directive by which the CBI was required to take the permission of the government for even investigating officers of the level of joint secretary and above. The Supreme Court has held that this is interfering and obstructing corruption investigations against senior officers,’ said Bhushan in a statement.
BJP has welcomed the Supreme Court decision. Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar, while saying it is a landmark decision to eliminate corruption, also demanded that prime minister Manmohan Singh be questioned by the CBI in the 2G scam case after former telecom minister A Raja deposed in a court that every decision was allegedly taken with the PM’s consent. Javadekar said, ‘Now CBI must interrogate the PM on 2G issues as the matter is in court and the probe will not be completed if PM is not interrogated. Now it is clear that PM is also involved in the scam.’
Raja, a key accused facing trial in the 2G spectrum case, had on Monday sought to drag Singh’s name by saying that all actions were taken with the PM’s ‘concurrence’ and not’unilaterally’.
Javadekar said, ‘It is very serious revelation of former telecom minister A Raja in the CBI court. While answering thousands of questions he has made it very categorically clear that every decision about 2G was taken after PM okayed it.’
Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party also welcomed the top court’s decision to remove the primary hurdle before carrying out and completing unbiased investigations into corruption cases such as telecom scam, Coalgate and Railgate. ‘Both the NDA and the UPA governments had taken advantage of this absurd provision to protect senior babus who were involved in corruption cases,’ an AAP spokesperson said. The CBI director Ranjit Sinha termed the verdict as ‘landmark’, adding that it would give more teeth to the probing body.