‘There’s no political interference, wrong perception that CBI works for the govt’

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SummaryOutgoing CBI director Amar Pratap Singh is set to retire on November 30. His tenure saw probe into scandals like 2G, CWG, Adarsh, Tatra-BEML, illegal mining. Exemption from RTI, autonomy and independence under Lokpal are some of his achievements. Singh talks to Rahul Tripathi about the CBI’s achievements and impediments faced by it

What has been your most challenging assignment?

The 1984 riots when I was posted as SP, Jamshedpur; that can be termed as one of my toughest assignments. The situation was very bad across the country. The adjoining districts of Bokaro and Dhanbad witnessed several incidents of violence. However, at Jamshedpur, we were able to ensure that there was not even a single incident of violence.

Do you think the CBI director should be barred from any post-retirement assignments?

I will not comment on this. It is for the government and legislature to decide.

What are the biggest impediments that the CBI faces? Is sanction of prosecution one of them?

There are four major impediments that the agency is facing: prosecution sanctions, letter rogatories, forensic, and shortage of staff. With a Department of Personnel and Training circular asking to grant prosecution sanction within three months, things have improved a little, still this needs to be converted into a ruling. To expedite replies of letter rogatories, the post of Interpol Liaison Officer has been finalised and they will be posted soon. Delay in forensic reports remain one of the major concerns while a proposal for staff augmentation is on the cards.

The CBI is exempted from the RTI. Is it a big achievement for the agency?

It is not an achievement. In order to be transparent, we need to be exempted from the RTI. In the CBI, there is always a difference of opinion between officers which is reported on the file as officials know that they will be protected while expressing their opinions. In most of the cases, there is a difference of opinion between the IOs, supervisory officer and even director of prosecution. If the RTI is implemented, no one will write on the file and instead, everyone will rely on unanimous decisions.

Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar was left out during the selection of the new CBI director. The reason was a complaint by Ashok Agarwal, who was arrested by Kumar when he was in the CBI. Do you think officials get victimised and the CBI needs to stand by them?

In Neeraj Kumar’s case, the facts were brought before the members of the Central Vigilance Commission. It was for the committee to select the names and constitute a panel. As far as allegations by Ashok Agarwal against CBI officials are concerned, we have always supported our officers at all forums in Ashok Agarwal

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