Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Haryana says CBI not given 'general consent' to probe charges against Central staff

The Hindu: Chandigarh: Wednesday, August 02, 2017.
Though the CBI is ''officially'' empowered to investigate complaints of corruption against Central government employees in any State, the Haryana government’s Home department, in a response to an application filed under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, has denied that it has given permission to the CBI for undertaking such investigation.
This goes against the State government's notification (a copy of which is with The Hindu), released on March 7, 1995, which makes it clear that it has given general consent to all members of the Delhi Special Police Establishment, which includes the CBI.
In a reply on July 7, 2017 to the application filed by Advocate Hemant Kumar, Haryana’s Home Department said the government had not given such ''general consent'' to the CBI. However, such consent is given to the CBI in particular cases, it added.
The notification reads “in pursuance of the provisions of section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (Act No. 25 of 1946), the Governor of Haryana is pleased to accord consent to extend the powers and jurisdictions of all members of Delhi Special Police Establishment to make investigations in respect of the offences against the officials of the Central government, departments and other central institutions, located in the territory of Haryana, which include offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and an attempt, abatement or conspiracy in respect of or in relation to one or more of the above mentioned offences and any other offence or offences arising out of similar facts, committed during the course of same transaction.”
It's pertinent to note that the CBI derives its legal powers to investigate crime from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
Mr. Kumar, in his application, stated that most States have given, what is called a 'general consent', to the central government for investigation of complaints of corruption against Central staff.
This means that CBI need not require prior consent in each case and it can go ahead with investigation into complaints as and when received without referring them to the State for consent. In this backdrop, Mr. Kumar asked that if Haryana had indeed given such ''general consent'' to the CBI, then in which month and year it was done.
“I'm surprised by the Haryana Home department's reply. It seems either they are not in possession of the relevant official documents or else they do not want to provide the same,” said Mr. Kumar, a practicing lawyer in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Haryana secretary (Home 1), Nitin Kumar Yadav, told The Hindu, “There is a provision under which the CBI is required to seek permission and the State government always cooperates with investigation agencies for fair investigation.”
The CBI, however, dismissed the argument that it requires prior consent or permission of the State government for an investigation against Central government employees.
“In Haryana, the CBI can undertake investigation against employees of the Central government and no prior consent is required. Such consent is required only if the CBI intends to take up investigation against the public servants under the control of the State government,” said CBI spokesperson R.K. Gaur.