The Hemant Soren-led Jharkhand government became the latest non-BJP-ruled state to withdraw the general consent given to the CBI to probe cases in the state and investigations will now be handed over only with special permission of the state.
Jharkhand has become the sixth state to withdraw general consent after Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh. In Andhra, however, the YSRCP government restored consent after coming to power last year.
The CBI is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act that makes consent of a state government mandatory for conducting investigation in that state. Since the CBI has jurisdiction only over Central government departments and employees, it can investigate a case involving state government employees or a violent crime in a state only after the government concerned gives consent.
General consent is given by states so that the CBI can seamlessly conduct its investigation and not seek the state government nod for every case — unlike the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has jurisdiction across the country.
The development comes a day after the CPI (M)-led government in Kerala revoked the general consent to the central agency. What is said to have provoked the government is the CBI’s decision to probe the alleged FCRA violations in an apartment project — part of the state’s Life Mission scheme — constructed with the funding of Emirates Red Crescent.
The project had run into allegations of corruption after Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the gold smuggling case, reportedly told central agencies that she pocketed Rs 4.25 crore as kickbacks from the Rs 20-crore project.
In October, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government also made a similar move in anticipation of the CBI Special Crimes Division taking over the probe into the alleged TRP scam being investigated by the Mumbai Police. Republic TV is among the five channels under police scanner in the case.
Since the CBI took over a similar case of manipulation of TRPs, registered by the Uttar Pradesh police on Tuesday, the Maharashtra government feared the central agency would include in its purview the case probed by the Mumbai Police, and attempt to take over.
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