Political scandals are not new to India or its people. In fact, these facts have not only shamed India on international level but have exposed the country’s premier investigating agency’s role under various Congress-led Governments, especially the UPA. Following is a list of cases for the investigations of which the CBI has come in for criticism.
Malankara Varghese murder case: The Malankara Varghese murder case concerns the death of TM Varghese also known as Malankara Varghese, a member of Malankara Orthodox Churchâ??s managing committee and a timber merchant in 5 December 2002. On 9 May 2010, Father Varghese Thekkekara, a priest and manager of the Angamali diocese in the rival Jacobite Syrian Christian Church (a part of the Syriac Orthodox Church) with conspiracy in the murder of Malankara Varghese and named him as the prime accused. Till date, the prime accused has not been arrested, CBI is highly being criticised for this by Kerala High Court and media.
Sohrabuddin case: CBI has been accused of acting for the ruling party Congress (UPA) to trap its Opposition party mainly BJP. CBI, which is dealing with the Sohrabuddin case in Gujarat, questioned Geeta Johri an IPS officer, who claims the CBI is pressuring her to falsely implicate former Gujarat Minister Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, Rajkot Police Commissioner Geeta Johri has alleged in the Supreme Court.
Sister Abhaya murder case: Sister Abhaya murder case concerns a nun, who was found dead in a water well in Saint Pius X convent hostel on 27 March 1992 in Kottayam, Kerala. Altogether there were five CBI inquiries into the murder case so far without any tangible results.
Priyadarshini Mattoo murder case: Again one of the most widely talked about cases under CBI. In Priyadarshini Mattoo case, Santosh Kumar Singh (son of a high-ranking officer in the Indian Police Service) was the alleged murderer of a 22-year-old law student. The CBI has been under a cloud owing to its handling of the case. As the accused was the son of a high-ranking officer in the Indian Police Service, the 1999 judgment commented on how â??the influence of the father of the accused has been thereâ??.The CBI appealed the verdict in Delhi High court in 2000, after which the High Court issued a bailable warrant against the accused. Due to the aggressive media coverage, the CBI filed an application for early hearing in July 2006. The High Court subsequently found Santosh Kumar Singh guilty of rape and murder and awarded a death sentence for the same in October 2006.
Hawala scandal: In 1991 an arrest linked to terrorists in Kashmir led to a raid on Hawala brokers, revealing evidence of large-scale payments to national politicians. The prosecution that followed was partly prompted by a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and yet the court cases of the Hawala scandal eventually collapsed without convictions. The CBIâ??s role was again criticised.
Bofors scandal: This scandal was perhaps one of the most widely talked about due to the involvement of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The CBI was responsible for the inquiry into the 1986 Bofors scandal. Associates of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi were linked to alleged pay-offs made in the mid-1980s by the Swedish arms firm AB Bofors, with $40 million in kickbacks moved from Britain and Panama to secret Swiss banks. The 410 howitzer field guns purchased in the $1,300 million arms sale were reported to be inferior to those offered by a French competitor. Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi was one of the prime accused in the scandal. However, in January 2006, it was found that CBI had quietly unfrozen bank accounts of Ottavio Quattrocchi and has facilitated his travel across the globe by asking Interpol to take him off the â??wantedâ?? list on 29 Apr 2009. It is often suspected that ruling governments interfere with the work of the CBI, and the handling of the Bofors investigation by CBI under Congress Governments has created a new synonym for CBI.
2G Spectrum scam: Radio spectrum case has become the pain in the neck for the Government. Radio spectrum which is a precious and scarce natural resource of national importance was allotted by UPA Government at throwaway prices to companies through corrupt and illegal means. The Supreme Court pulled up the CBI many times for its slow progress in the investigations, however, it was only after SC's intervention that CBI made quick progress and arrested high-profile persons, including A Raja and Kanimozhi.
Coalgate scam: This political scandal concerns the allocation of the nationâ??s coal deposits to private companies by Prime Minister Manmohan Singhâ??s Government causing a loss of Rs 10,673 billion to the national exchequer. On April 26, the CBI Director Ranjit Sinha had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that the Status Report on Coalgate prepared by the investigating agency was shared with the then Law Minister Ashwani Kumar â??as desired by himâ??, Joint Secretary-level officers from the Prime Ministerâ??s Office (PMO) and the Coal Ministry before presenting it to the Court on March 8, CBI stated to SC that 20 per cent of its original report was changed by the Government. The case is now a hot topic in media and the CBI is time and again been getting criticism for mishandling it.
Bhopal gas tragedy: The public perceived that the CBI was very ineffective in trying the Bhopal gas tragedy case. The former CBI Joint Director BR Lall has now confessed that he was asked to remain soft on extraditing the Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson, and dropped charges, including culpable homicide, against those accused in this case, who received two-year sentences.