SC concerned because CBI requests to investigate pending cases with states

SC concerned because CBI requests to investigate pending cases with states.

EXPRESSING CONCERN over the requests from the IWC, seeking a specific sanction to investigate cases, pending with eight states that have withdrawn general consent to the agency, the Supreme Court said Monday that “it is not a desirable position.”

A bank headed by Judge SK Kaul referred to an affidavit submitted by the head of CBI, indicating that around 150 such requests were pending with the governments of Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Mizoram since 2018.

The bank noted that these requests were made for matters related to allegations of fraud, forgery, misappropriation and also cases of bank fraud.

The court, which included Judge MM Sundresh, said that “18% of the cases (were) of corrupt public servants … 78% of the cases are said to be pending … not a desirable position.”

The court also raised concerns about the stay granted by the courts in the CBI cases, delaying the trial. “Both aspects mentioned need to be addressed,” said the SC, referring the matter to Chief Justice NV Ramana of India.

The CBI had submitted the affidavit in response to the court’s inquiry last month on the bottlenecks it faces and the steps taken to strengthen the prosecution of the cases.

The court had said that there was a widespread perception that the agency’s success rate was quite low.

In its response, the CBI said that since these eight states had withdrawn blanket consent, it had to seek a separate sanction for each case, and this was causing delays. The agency also maintained that the stay granted by the courts was contributing to the delay, saying that more than 12,000 cases had been suspended so far.

The court was hearing a request filed by the IWC, along with an appeal against an order from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, requesting the waiver of the delay in filing. During a previous hearing, the magistracy had noted that the file was pending comments from the deputy legal counsel in the branch chief’s office from May 9, 2018 to January 19, 2019.

On Monday, the court told Additional Attorney General Sanjay Jain that the problem is that “no one is held accountable.” He also made an exception to the affidavit that explained the delay as “inadvertent” and said it was “incompetence.”

The court noted that the affidavit said an investigation was underway to determine responsibility for the delay. By allowing the request for waiver of the delay, the court asked the agency to deposit 25,000 rupees, which would be recovered from those responsible for the delay.