Friday, April 16, 2021

CBI picks up ‘Look East’ signals

NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 14: Central probe agencies indicated on Friday that they would now turn their attention to Bengal, reopening the eastern flank after the recent thrust on Congress leaders such as P Chidambaram and D.K. Shivakumar.
Sources in the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate said the probe agencies had dusted the files on several prominent Trinamul Congress figures in connection with the Saradha and Narada cases.
“We have been asked to ‘Look East’ now. Our next big operation will soon be in Bengal where several Trinamul leaders are facing charges,” a CBI officer told The Telegraph.
The instruction to the CBI and the ED to turn its attention to Bengal comes against the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion in Jharkhand on Thursday that the work done by his Government in the first 100 days was just a “trailer” and “picture abhi baaki hai”.
“Our fight is against corruption and those who indulge in such activities. In 100 days, we took decisions against such persons. Some of them have been sent to jail,” the Prime Minister had said in Jharkhand.
“A massive crackdown on corruption has begun. Those who try to loot the public will be shown their right place,” he said.
Modi did not name anyone. Congress leaders Chidambaram and Shivakumar have been arrested over the past few weeks.
The Opposition parties have accused the BJP of using the investigating agencies to intimidate their leaders and to divert attention from economic issues.
A CBI officer conceded that the signal to target Trinamul leaders was more a “political” call than any genuine effort to root out corruption. He cited the example of Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who is facing corruption charges over the Louis Berger bribery claims.
Gauhati High Court had ordered a CBI probe in September 2017.
“Sarma is yet to be questioned by the CBI as he switched over to the BJP in 2015. The agency has grilled several Government officials but it seems to have absolved Sarma of the charges,” said the officer.
Similarly, the CBI had given a clean chit to former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan who had come under the scanner in the multi-crore Vyapam scam, one of the biggest admission-cum-recruitment scandals in India spanning 2008 to 2013.
More than 40 whistleblowers in the case had mysteriously died. The agency gave the clean chit to Chauhan in 2017, three years after BJP came to power at the Centre.
“The agencies have gone slow in cases involving BJP leaders. What we see these days is the politics of revenge and vendetta,” an official said, requesting anonymity.
A fortnight ago, the CBI had sought sanction from Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to prosecute 3 sitting Trinamul Congress MPs and a former parliamentarian of the party in the Narada scandal.
Mukul Roy, a former Trinamul leader now in the BJP, is among the leaders linked to the Narada case in which several politicians have been accused of accepting money.
If the sanction is accorded, the accused may be named by the agency in its chargesheet, which is likely to be filed soon, said an agency official. The official declined to speculate on the fate of leaders who are now with the BJP. (Courtesy: TT)