On Friday, BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao criticised the Chandrababu Naidu-led government’s decision to withdraw ‘general consent’ given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for probing charges of corruption and allied offences against government employees and termed it a “malafide exercise of power by the Andhra Pradesh government to ensure that its corruption is not exposed.”
“A nervous TDP government and a completely rattled Chandrababu Naidu is desperately trying to save his government and the corrupt who are actually getting exposed in Andhra Pradesh,” Rao added.
Rao pointed out that the state government earlier issued an order on 3 August allowing the CBI to probe charges of corruption against employees of the central government and central government undertakings.
“This is not an omnibus consent to probing all kinds of cases. This was a general consent to probe central government employees who are probed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which functions under the CBI in the state,” Rao added.
Rao noted that “by acting in a malafide manner, the TDP has shown it has many skeletons in its cupboard, it has many cases of corruption which it does not want to be probed.”
As per rules under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946, in accordance with which the CBI was formed, the investigating agency has complete jurisdiction over Delhi. But it can also enter the other states with the ‘general consent’ of that state’s government.
In the absence of the permission, the CBI cannot interfere with any case that takes place within the limits of Andhra Pradesh. The Chandrababu Naidu-led Andhra Pradesh government has also vested the state investigation agency with the responsibility of CBI duties in the state.
The Andhra government order was passed on 8 November, three months after it gave the general consent to the CBI to exercise its powers and jurisdiction.
The development comes after Naidu pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance over demands for ‘special status’ to Andhra Pradesh. In the aftermath, he accused the Centre of bringing down the reputation and credibility of CBI for its own gain.
The move of Andhra Pradesh shutting its door for the CBI is seen as an instance of shadow-boxing between the Centre and state under the federal system, especially when Naidu is pulling out all the stops to unite the non-BJP parties with the slogan “Save Democracy – Save Nation”.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) spokesperson Lanka Dinakar, told ANI, “This decision has been taken in wake of incidents happening in CBI since last six months. It lost its independence due to involvement of Modi-led union government which is using CBI as tools against political opponents by means of preparing fabricated statements.”
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was quick to endorse the Andhra government’s decision. “Chandrababu Naidu has done the right thing in saying he wouldn’t allow CBI in his state. The BJP can be ‘note changer’, but it’s not a game changer,” she said.
Earlier Friday, Banerjee slammed the NDA government at the Centre for “destroying key Indian institutions such as the CBI and the RBI”.