Mamata joins Naidu, withdraws consent for CBI investigations in West Bengal

Earlier on Friday, Chandrababu Naidu led Andhra Pradesh Government revoked its consent to Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct raids without its permission. The move came in the wake of the agency losing its credibility as seen in the last few days, now the CBI has to seek the permission of the Home Ministry of the state before conducting raids. The CBI and agencies under the Delhi Police Establishment Act, 1946 will now have to approach the state government in order to investigate any case.

Though the decision to revoke the consent was taken on November 8 through an official notification (GOMs no. 176, Home Department) but it was kept confidential till Thursday night.

As per the government officials of the Home Ministry of the state, the general consent is given routinely for the period of six months to a year. The last consent was given on August 3, 2018. Deputy Chief Minister, who also holds Home Portfolio, said that the decision was taken in tune with suggestions made by legal experts in the wake of serious allegations imposed on the agency.

General Consent is the periodic approval by the state government to the CBI and other agencies under Delhi Special Police Establishment, 1946.

Curtailing the powers of the agency in the state can be seen as a political tussle between the TDP government and the BJP and recent raids on many TDP MPs and Leaders.

While a Senior Police Officer on the condition of anonymity told that move is totally an administrative one and taken in the context of law and order being a state subject that making mandatory for any central agency to take prior permission.

On the other hand, soon after Chandrababu Naidu, the TMC government led by Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal also revoked the consent given to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), effectively curtailing its powers in the state. The consent in the state had been accorded to a state by the then Left Government in the year 1989.

However, the withdrawal of general consent will not any impact of the existing cases, investigation and filing of charge sheets by CBI.

Although the CBI Spokesperson on Friday said that agency is yet to receive any official copy of the order and examine it to determine further course of action, another official cited a Supreme Court judgment in Kazi Lhendup Dorji v. Central Bureau of Investigation & Ors (1994) to stress that it would not impact the already instituted cases.

A retired CBI official said ‘ This has happened many times in Nagaland and also for Karnataka for about 8 Years. In Karnataka, the J.H. Patel’s Janata Dal government had withdrawn the consent on December 15, 1998, and not renewed it for several years. Also, in the late 70s, the Devaraj Urs government had also recalled the general permission for CBI probes.

The withdrawal of general consent means that the CBI officers lose police powers under the Criminal Procedure Code in the State concerned and for registering each case, the agency has to seek a specific consent from the State government. As a result, it stalls registration of new cases,” said another official.

The move draws a sharp reaction from Opposition, BJP spokesman and Rajya Sabha member G.V.L. Narasimha Rao said the government’s decision amounted to a mala fide exercise of its executive power to extend political patronage to people and organizations involved in corruption and criminality.

YSRCP Political Advisory Committee (PAC) member Ambati Rambabu said the government was trying to prevent the CBI from entering the State because the TDP leaders are afraid that the truth about the attack on YSR Congress President Y.S.Jagan Mohan Reddy will come out.

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