The CBI raid on Tuesday at the office of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s principal secretary is perhaps the biggest flashpoint in the already fractured relationship between the AAP-led Delhi government and BJP-led central government.
The Delhi CM claimed that the federal agency was working at the behest of Narendra Modi and he called the PM a “a coward and a psychopath.” However, the BJP countered by saying the raid has nothing to do with Delhi CM.
However, the CBI is hardly a stranger to controversy, with the Supreme Court once referring to it as a caged parrot during the UPA government’s tenure. But even after the Modi government came to power, the agency has found itself in the centre of a controversy multiple times.
Here are the biggest political controversies that the CBI has found itself in since the new government came to power:
1. Removal of CBI director Ranjit Sinha from 2G Scam probe
In November 2014, a Supreme Court order directed the former CBI director Ranjit Sinha to recuse himself from the ongoing probe into the multi-crore 2G spectrum scam. The apex court’s verdict had come in response to a petition filed by former AAP leader and prominent lawyer Prashant Bhushan who had alleged that Sinha was abusing his official position to protect accused in high profile corruption cases.
With even the BJP calling for his removal, Ranjit Sinha was replaced by senior IPS officer Anil Kumar Sinha in December 2014.
Incidentally, at the time of Sinha’s appointment as CBI chief in 2012, the BJP had expressed discontent against the UPA government’s decision. The party had said the new CBI director should have been selected by the government through a collegium system, rather than decide on the appointment by itself.
2. Raids on Teesta Setalvad’s home and office
A 12-member CBI team in July this year raided the residence and office of renowned human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, who has been fighting legal cases of the victims of 2002 Gujarat riots. While the CBI accused Teesta of illegally of misappropriating funds meant for riot victims, the human rights activist had termed the raids as an act of “shameful political vendetta.”
The CBI is carrying out the probe against Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand, businessman Gulam Mohammed Peshimam and Setalvad’s publishing house Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt Ltd (SCPPL).
Working under the directions of Home Ministry, the CBI raids came after the Gujarat government sent a letter detailing alleged irregularities by two NGOs run by Setalvad and her husband.
The CBI had registered a case in early July against all these under IPC Section related to criminal conspiracy (120-B) along with provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 and Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 1976.
Setalvad and her husband are presently out on bail.
3. Raids on Himachal Pradesh CM’s residence
Perhaps for the first time ever, the CBI went after a serving CM by raiding the residence of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s and 12 other properties in September 2015. This was done as part of the inquiry in a disproportionate assets case.
At the time of raid, Singh was not at his residence as his daughter was getting married on the same day.
The BJP unit in the state had asked for Singh’s resignation on moral grounds. But the Chief Minister said that he had nothing to hide, and the Congress alleged the misuse of CBI to destabilize “the strong and popular” democratically-elected government in the state.
Virbhadra also accused former HP Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, MP Anurag Thakur and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of using the CBI to target him.
The High Court of Himachal Pradesh said the CBI couldn’t arrest Singh or his wife, and the Supreme Court turned down CBI’s plea that sought to stay the order.
In November, the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh hit back by ordering a vigilance probe into the charge that BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal and his family amassed assets disproportionate to their known sources of income.Feature image source: PTI