It was during the NDA regime, in 2001, when the Tehelka tapes exposed widespread corruption in the ministry of defence. But the CBI, rather than looking after actionable information in the Tehelka tapes, went after the journalists who exposed the corruption.
It took a regime change at the Centre, with the UPA coming to power, that the CBI registered 10 cases on the basis of Tehelka tapes against former BJP president Bangaru Laxman, Samta party leaders Jaya Jailey and RK Jain and around a dozen defence ministry officials. Out of these 10 cases, only one case against Laxman has ended in conviction for the agency. Rests of the cases are still pending in courts.
But in cases where the CBI was asked to probe allegations of bribery in a defence procurement deal, its record is much worst. And here the Bofors scam symbolises what ails the CBI.
Though, the Bofors probe started in the VP Singh's tenure as the prime minister, the NDA regime filed a chargesheet in the case in 1999 and its ghost was finally laid to rest in the UPA tenure when one by one all accused were discharged and the CBI closed the case.
The two British accounts where the alleged bribe money was lying were also unfrozen.
Few bright spots in this grim scenario are the Naval War Room case, the Adarsh scam and the Ordinance Factory Board scam of Kolkata wherein chargesheets were filed.