Earlier last month, the Maharashtra government pulled out its general consent to the central investigation agency, Rajasthan also withdrew consent earlier this year, while West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh repealed it in 2019. Now after the fifth state, On Wednesday, The Left Democratic Front (LDF) Kerala decided to withdraw the general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for operating in the state.
The judgement was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to withdraw the consent thereby joining the several non-BJP states to bar the agency from examing any cases in the state without consent from the state government.
As a result, from now onwards the investigating agency has to approach the state government on a case to case basis, seeking consent to supervise inquiry.
The CBI comes under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act and requires states to give it general consent to look into allegations in opposition to central government employees within a state. This is because the police and public order fall under the purview of state governments, which regularly renew their permission.
The state government took this decision of withdrew through the notifications under the Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946 when the CBI was examining several purported irregularities in its ambitious Life Mission project, a housing initiative for the poor.
The consent is akin to a blanket nod for the agency to probe scheduled offenses specified in the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DPSE) Act, 1946.
After declaration, The Communist Party of India encouraged this move. Hence Party leader Kanam Rajendran stated no one was against any inquiries by any central agency, “but using them as a tool for political gains and to create a smokescreen till the upcoming elections were not right”.
Whereas Opposition parties denounce the move, with the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party claiming that the decision was taken to hide ‘’rampant corruption’’ of the state government.
Besides this Mullappally Ramachandran, the Congress chief of Kerala unit said, “The Kerala government is afraid of the CBI.” “They should make it clear whether they have the same stance with regard to the CBI at the national level too.”