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'Farewell Gift To The Nation- In-Law'

The timing of the withdrawal of the the Red Corner notice against Ottavio Quattrocchi is an indication that the leadership of the UPA is so convinced of the loss of its power that, like most despotic regimes, it is obliging its friends in the last da

Today's Indian Express has revealed that the CBI under advice from the Attorney General for India has withdrawn the Red Corner notice against Ottavio Quattrocchi, an accused in the Bofor’s bribery case. This action of the CBI is clearly at the behest of the political establishment and at the cost of its own credibility. The cancellation of the Red Corner notice on the eve of its own departure is a "farewell gift to the nation- in-law". The timing of the withdrawal of the notice is an indication that the leadership of the UPA is so convinced of the loss of its power that, like most despotic regimes, it is obliging its friends in the last days of the office.

The CBI has mastered the art of self goals and sabotage in criminal cases involving the friends of the ruling establishments.

The CBI strategy to help Quattrocchi from the very beginning has been clear:

  • Delay in lodging an FIR
  • Delay in sending letter rogataries
  • Not appealing against an erroneous judgement of the Delhi High Court in 2004
  • Collusion in de- freezing of Quattrocchi’s bank account in London
  • Making statements in London to the Crown Prosecutor that there is no case against Qutrocchi
  • Allowing the statements to be used against itself in the arrest case in Latin America, and finally
  • The withdrawal of the Red Corner notice have all been designed to help the accused.

The CBI was created to investigate major corruption cases and maintain the purity of government functioning. Today it conspires with the accused to earn them a clean chit. The following are all examples of CBI’s political conduct being influenced by politics. 

  • The Bofors case
  • The non grant of sanction to prosecute Satish Sharma
  • The non filing of an appeal in the case of the disproportionate asserts of Sibu Soren
  • The change of public prosecutor in the corruption case of Lalu Prasad
  • The concealment of material evidence, the constitution of special Bench of the ITAT and the non filing of the appeal in the said case

The CBI played down Mayawati’s Taj Corridor case, when she supported the UPA. The DA case was activated when she withdrew support from the UPA. The CBI took a hostile attitude in the DA case against Mulayam Singh Yadav when the UPA- SP relationship was acrimonious. It changed its altitude during, the period of political honeymoon between the UPA and the SP.

Today, the CBI deserves to be investigated. It has lost its credibility. It only responds to its political masters. Recent articles by Justice J.S. Verma and Mr F.S. Nariman are a telling comment on the CBI. The BJP, if voted to power, would appoint a commission headed by a Supreme Court Judge in order to investigate the collusion of the CBI with the accused in several sensitive cases and suggest steps to institutionalise the independence of the CBI. It is now time that the CBI is made accountable.

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AUTHORS: Arun Jaitley
TAGS: Bofors
SECTION: National
SUBSECTION: Opinion
OUTLOOK 28 April, 2009
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