Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday said barring the CBI from probing cases in states was akin to “declaring sovereignty in the matter of corruption”. The Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal governments Friday decided to withdraw the general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for probing cases in those states. The Andhra Pradesh government’s move was prompted by “the fear of what is likely to happen”, Jaitley said, adding that only those who had “a lot to hide” feared the central agency.
“Somebody has yesterday declared his sovereignty in the matter of corruption by saying that I won’t allow investigative agencies to enter. This is governance adventurism at its worst,” he said, speaking at the Economic Times Awards event here. Earlier in the day, speaking to reporters in Bhopal after releasing the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) manifesto for the Madhya Pradesh polls, Jaitley said, “It is only those who have a lot to hide will take the step of saying let the CBI not come to my state.”
“There is no sovereignty of any state in the matter of corruption,” he said in response to a query.
“It is believed that Andhra’s move is not motivated by any particular case, but by the fear of what is likely to happen. I am not saying anything more than that at the moment,” the BJP leader added. “We have a federal structure in India and under that federal structure, the CBI was created initially for the employees of the central government and then, to investigate certain kinds of very serious cases in the states, which were referred to it either by the states or courts,” he said.
Referring to the alleged Saradha chit fund scam and the Narada sting operation, Jaitley said in Bhopal, “Saradha and Narada in West Bengal cannot be wiped off merely by saying that for the future, I de-notify the CBI. In Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, the CBI would now need permission from the state government to carry out any investigation except those ordered by courts and against central government officials.