A day after the Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal governments withdrew their “general consent” to the Central Bureau of Investigation to carry out searches in the states, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said there is “no sovereignty of any state in matters of corruption”. He said those who had a lot to hide fear the central investigating agency.
“It is believed that Andhra’s move is not motivated by any particular case, but by the fear of what is likely to happen,” Jaitley told reporters at a Bharatiya Janata Party event in Bhopal. “I am not saying anything more than that at the moment.”
The finance minister said this move will not help the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal in alleged Saradha and Narada scams. “Investigations cannot be wiped off merely by saying: ‘I de-notify the CBI’,” he said, according to NDTV.
He further said: “We have a federal structure in India. Under that federal structure, the CBI was created initially for employees of the central government and then to investigate several kinds of serious cases in the states which were referred to it either by states or by courts. The CBI can’t snatch any case.”
The BJP too criticised the state governments for their decision. “It is a clear malafide exercise of power by corrupt parties to protect their interests and a grand alliance of these most corrupt parties is coming up,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said, according to The Hindu. “The state government has cited recent happenings in the CBI as a lame excuse and a ruse to brazenly save the corrupt and extend political patronage to people and organisations involved in acts of corruption and criminality.”
On Friday, the Andhra Pradesh government withdrew the “general consent” provided to the CBI to carry out searches in the state citing lack of confidence in the agency after its senior officers accused each other of corruption. “It lost its independence due to involvement of Modi-led Union government which is using CBI as tools against political opponents by means of preparing fabricated statements,” Telugu Desam Party member Lanka Dinakar said.
Hours later, the West Bengal government too withdrew the CBI’s “general consent”.