A parliamentary panel has strongly recommended that departmental officers of the CBI should “form and continue to form” the backbone of the agency, and any attempt to dilute their strength should be strongly discouraged and resisted.
The panel has asked the government to enhance the skills of departmental personnel, instead of encouraging deputation.The parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievances, law and justice, in its 51st report, castigated the CBI on its over-dependence on deputation to fill vacancies in the agency.
The recommendation of the panel is contrary to the thinking in the agency brass, who want to preserve its ‘deputationist’ character. At the moment, the CBI uses the deputation route to recruit officers at various levels.
In fact, almost all the officers in the rank of superintendent of police and above are from the Indian Police Service, and have joined the agency on deputation. In fact, the agency had stopped the recruitment of officers at the level of DySP in the last 10 years.
These DySPs could have become the backbone of the agency in the years to come, the panel said.
The government argued that besides the fact that state police officers have much wider exposure in dealing with various kinds of crime, deputation could enhance coordination with the local police.
Stating that states have more confidence in the CBI because it takes officers on deputation, the government said that any dilution in this regard may brand the CBI as a central agency – making states decline giving it consent to investigate cases.
However, the panel didn’t find any merit in the argument. “The act of giving consent depends on the nature of crime, gravity of offence and other reasons. The committee fails to understand how the presence of such officers in the CBI can, in any way, improve the decision-making process,” it said.
The panel said the reasonable conviction rate of the CBI can also be attributed to departmental officers. It also felt that the investigative skills expected from a CBI officer are inherently different from that of state police officers.
Contending that the agency should be very selective in taking officers on deputation, and not make it a routine exercise, the panel recommended that departmental officers should be actively involved in the decision-making process of the agency – so they can be groomed to take up higher responsibilities.