Delivering his keynote lecture to mark the CBI’s 50-year celebrations, former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who was the guest speaker, rebuked the agency for being the government’s alleged ‘department of dirty tricks’ instead of being honesty’s ally.
Warning against the menace of corporate greed and black money as a parallel economy, Gandhi also described business group Reliance as an alleged parallel state.
“The CBI has a very mixed image. Not all of it is flattering. It is seen as government’s hatchet, rather than honesty’s ally. It is often called DDT- meaning not dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, the colourless, tasteless, odourless insecticide it should be, but the department of dirty tricks,” Gandhi said at the 15th DP Kohli Memorial Lecture titled “Eclipse at Noon: Shadows over India’s Conscience”.
“This perception, howsoever, valid it might be, must change,” said Gandhi who shared his blunt critique to a gathering that included senior CBI officials including director Ranjit Sinha and former agency directors including Amar Pratap Singh.
Slamming the CBI for its perceived obsession with secrecy, Gandhi said, “For a short time, the CBI came under the RTI Act. The heavens did not fall during that time. But the triple wrappings of opacity, secrecy and mystery made it move to be taken out of the purview of the RTI Act.
“This is a great pity,” he further said. “The CBI is about investigations into corruption and certain crimes. It is not security or intelligence agency. And even if some aspects of its investigations needed protection against disclosure, there are enough provisions under the RTI Act’s exemption clauses to have to the CBI’s aid,” said Gandhi.
Gandhi said, “From Ambedkar who spoke of economic democracy to Ambani who represents a techno-commercial monopoly of unprecedented scale, is a far cry indeed,” said Gandhi.
When contacted by HT, a Reliance spokesperson refused to comment about Gandhi’s claims.