At a time when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is reportedly working hard to improve its image, the agency's former director Joginder Singh has termed it a 'puppet' in the hands of the union government.
A former IPS officer, Singh headed and remained CBI director for 11 months in 1996. Speaking on the conclusion of a programme at the Aryans group of colleges here on Monday, Singh alleged that the agency was wholly controlled by the central government.
"The governments at the Centre actually guide the agency on how to work. The cases are opened and closed with change of guard at the Centre," he alleged.
However, he stressed the need for a policy and reforms in law to retain the authenticity of the country's topmost investigative agency.
When asked about the notice to incumbent director Ranjit Sinha by the Supreme court recently over 2G and coal gate investigations, Singh said "What is happening presently in the CBI is all due to the government's pressure."
Singh said in spite of having dedicated officers, the pressure from the high-ups in the government to play down certain cases and scams lower the credentials of not only the respective officers, but whole of the investigating agency.
"The CBI receives written orders from influential politicians and ministers on what to do and what not to do. Not only the sanctioning of cases is planned, the interference and abnormal pressure disrupts the investigation against the accused ascwell," he added.
"Even I was pressurised by senior ministers in the IK Gujral government to downplay and to intentionally delay submission of chargesheets in the infamous fodder scam in 1996. But, I didn't succumb to the pressure and asked them to send the instructions in writing."
Singh added it was a sorry state of affairs that the CBI started working efficiently only when either the Supreme Court or the high court intervenes.
"The CBI should be allowed to work independently if the government actually wants to make the country corruption-free. It should be given constitutional status, but nobody is bothered because it does not suit the politicians," Singh said.
Meanwhile, Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, who was also present on the occasion, said one can well imagine the condition of the common man in the country if this is what happens to senior officers.
"Most of the Indian politicians are highly corrupt and the need of the hour was to constitute an agency which can work against them without any fear," he added.