The General Consent
On August 3, 2018, the Chandrababu Naidu government in Andhra Pradesh issued the GO Ms No. 109 according ‘general consent’ to all members of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise thepowers and jurisdiction in Andhra Pradesh against officials of the central government, central government undertakings and private persons for investigating offences under various laws, including the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The AP government today has withdrawn the ‘general consent’ accorded to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to exercise its authority in the state. A ‘confidential’ government order to this effect, issued by principal secretary (Home) A R Anuradha on November 8, is now available to media.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, Government hereby withdraw the general consent accorded (in GO Ms 109) to all the members of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise the powers and jurisdiction under the said Act in the state of Andhra Pradesh,” the latest GO said.
The CBI functions under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
Hereinafter, the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) will carry out all the duties of the CBI.
TDP and BJP Break-up.
Ever since the TDP parted ways with the Narendra Modi-led NDA government in March this year over the refusal of the center to give ‘special category status’ to AP, Naidu had been accusing the centre of misusing institutions like the CBI to victimise political opponents. For instance, IT raids by the authorities on some business establishments, run by those close to the ruling TDP in the state. The TDP does not like it. Subsequently, Naidu announced that his government would not provide any police cover to the IT officials for conducting the raids.
In the recent past, TDP has likened PM Modi to ‘Anaconda’ who is swallowing National Institutions, while the BJP has called Chandrababu Naidu the ‘King of Corruption’.
The TDP chief has constantly been in touch with the opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi. He has also met Janata Dal (Secular) supremo and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and his son, Karanataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy to mobilise support against the ruling BJP at the center which he says is “destroying” institutions like the CBI and the RBI. This may become the main agenda for forging an alliance ahead of the 2019 general elections.
CBI V CBI Chaos: The final nail in the Coffin
The latest AP government’s decision has come amid the ongoing CBI vs CBI tussle- recent allegations against top CBI officials. Naidu alleges that people are thus losing faith in central agencies.The Supreme Court today has postponed the hearing in the CBI case to November 20. (See: CBI V CBI)
Thereafter West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has come in support of AP Chief Minister banning the CBI from entering the state. Mamata Banerjee, too, says that BJP is manipulating the CBI. As per her, the BJP was using the CBI and other agencies to pursue its own political vendetta.
The AP And WB developments, it now emerges, followed several such meetings between Opposition leaders and Naidu. The on-going feud in the CBI only served as the proverbial ‘final nail in the coffin’. This do not do any good to CBI’s credibility. Other states, especially the opposition ruled states, may soon emulate AP and WB. A corruption scandal, a bitter battle of accusations and counter-accusations between its top two Directors, and an unprecedented damage to its image in its wake have already caused irreparable damage to the credibility of the CBI.
Every convicted person by the CBI, the Malayas and the Lalus, must be feeling immensely amused to see the CBI’s own house in disarray. With every passing day it is becoming very difficult for the country’s premier investigative agency and the Modi government to recover any vestige of its fast losing self respect.