Union finance minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday criticised the investigating agencies and the Comptroller and Auditor General for what he termed having “overstepped their limits” in some cases to show that government decisions were improper.
The BJP hit back at the government saying it was trying to intimidate the CBI and rejected the Prime Minister’s statement that the investigating agency should differentiate between errors of judgment and criminal acts in dealing with policy matters.
Addressing the CBI golden jubilee celebrations, Chidambaram said: “Unfortunately, there are a number of cases where investigating agencies, and other authorities like the C&AG, have overstepped their limits and attempted to convert bona fide executive decisions into either crimes or abuse of authority.”
He, however, disagreed with the CBI being called a caged parrot or the Congress Bureau of Investigation. “In a lighter vein, I may say that sometimes the CBI itself pretends to be a helpless victim when it pleads for more powers and greater autonomy,” he added.
Chidambaram said that it is not the business of the investigating agency to question the wisdom of a government policy or to suggest a different policy that may be better in its view.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitely said the UPA government was trying to intimidate CBI investigations.
“The attempt appears to somehow intimidate the investigation. In several crucial cases, investigation is at an advanced stage,” Jaitley told reporters.
Though policy formulation was indeed in the domain of the executive, it could not be immune from criminal investigation. “What if the policy is flawed, is framed with collateral objective to benefit a few people,” Jaitley said.