Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday accused the Central Bureau of Investigation of interfering with matters already being probed by the Maharashtra police. Raut’s claim came a day after the Maharashtra government withdrew the general consent granted to CBI to conduct inquiries in the state.
“In the case of a national issue, CBI has the authority to investigate. We had to take this decision because of its interference in the matters of the state already being probed by our police,” Raut told ANI. He said the government would have to take such decisions if “someone tries to abuse” the rights of the state and its police as per the Constitution.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh too backed the state’s move, NDTV reported. “There was talk of the CBI being misused,” Deshmukh told reporters. “It is a professional and premier investigative organisation. The TRP case is being probed by Mumbai Police and a similar case has been registered in Uttar Pradesh.”
He added: “There may be a ploy to hand over the case to the CBI. The CBI should not be used for political purposes.”
Deshmukh was referring to the CBI’s involvement in the case pertaining to manipulation of Television Rating Points. The CBI registered the case after a complaint was filed in Uttar Pradesh in connection with the scam. The inquiry was recommended by the Adityanath-led state government. Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police is also looking into the alleged rigging of ratings by Republic TV, Box Cinema and Marathi channel Fakt Marathi.
The Maharashtra government’s decision to withdraw general consent to the CBI came a day after the investigating agency registered the case.
What does withdrawing general consent mean?
The Uddhav Thackeray-led government’s decision means that CBI will now have to ask for the state government’s permission to initiate inquiries on a case by case basis. Maharashtra has now become the fifth non-BJP ruled state to pass such an order. Rajasthan withdrew consent earlier this year, while West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh revoked it in 2019.
However, the order will not have a retrospective effect on cases in Maharashtra that are already being probed by CBI, according to NDTV. This holds significance as it would mean the CBI’s inquiry into actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death will not be affected by the order.