Meghalaya has become the ninth state to withdraw general consent to the Central Bureau of Investigation from operating in its territory, PTI reported on Friday.
Without the consent, the agency has to approach the state government on a case-to-case basis, seeking permission to conduct an inquiry.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said the decision was taken “a long time ago”. He told the media at the Assembly premises in Shillong that many states have done it.
“It’s a normal thing where the state’s aspect is there,” the chief minister added. “Anyone who has to come in here, has to take consent from the state.”
Eight states – West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram – have withdrawn their consent allowing the central agency to conduct inquiries in their territories.
Many of these states have alleged that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government was misusing the Central Bureau of Investigation to settle scores against their political opponents.
Of these eight states, seven are ruled by Opposition parties while Mizoram is ruled by the Mizo National Front, a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
According to The Indian Express, Mizoram had withdrawn general consent for the central investigating agency in 2015, when it was ruled by the Congress.
The ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance is led by Sangma’s National People Party and has the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The chief minister’s brother James PK Sangma has been accused of corruption in implementing the central government’s Saubhagya scheme for achieving 100% electrification, according to The Indian Express.
In September, James Sangma was divested of the power portfolio, according to Northeast Now.
In November, the Supreme Court expressed concern on states withdrawing general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation in operating on their territories.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh said that it was not a “desirable position”.
The Central Bureau of Investigation comes under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act and requires states to give it general consent to look into allegations against central government employees within a state.
This is because the police and public order fall under the purview of state governments, which regularly renew their permission.