The agency’s investigation powers are limited to Union territories and it cannot probe offences committed in states without seeking their consent.
The requirement is laid down in the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
VIJAYAWADA/KOLKATA: The fight between opposition-controlled states and the
BJP-led Centre widened dramatically on Friday with Andhra Pradesh and West
Bengal forbidding CBI and other central agencies from operating within their
In a marked escalation, governments led by Chandrababu Naidu and
Mamata Benerjee, both of whom are busy trying to erect an anti-BJP front, withdrew the
“general consent” extended to the CBI.
With “law and order” being the responsibility of states and the CBI being a central
organisation, the agency’s investigation powers are limited to Union territories and it
cannot probe offences committed in states without seeking their consent. The
requirement is laid down in the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
However, the Supreme Court and high courts can ask the CBI to probe a crime in a
particular state even if the state is not keen to let the agency in. The CBI, in case it
considers necessary, can approach the SC and HCs for permission to take up cases
or extend their investigation to a state which may wish to declare it to be out-ofbounds
for the agency.
Also, the moves by AP and West Bengal governments will not affect ongoing
investigations, filing of chargesheets and conduct of trials. Sources in the AP
government conceded that the agency could continue to investigate and carry out
raids in cases in which it has already obtained consent from the state government.
On an earlier occasion, Sikkim had withdrawn the “consent” the CBI is required to
take as per Section 6 of the DSPE Act.
Naidu justified the move by saying the CBI had been reduced to a tool for blackmail
by the Centre, an accusation which was soon endorsed by Banerjee as she followed
suit. “The CBI has lost its credibility,” the Trinamool boss said. West Bengal,
incidentally, was the first state to open its doors to the CBI.
BJP alleged that a “coalition of corrupt parties” was taking shape in the country and
the party would raise this issue at all political platforms. “Recent happenings in the
CBI have been cited as a lame excuse and a ruse to brazenly save the corrupt and
extend political patronage to people and organisations involved in acts of corruption
and criminality,” BJP’s G V L Narasimha Rao said.
In fact, Andhra Pradesh’s move was not limited to the CBI. The TDP government
withdrew consent also with regard to implementation of 63 central Acts and 188
different sections of the Indian Penal Code a drastic move which many in the state
government believe might hinder investigation and action by central agencies that
deal with serious offences such as hijacking, smuggling and theft of antiquities and
art treasures and those covered under central laws dealing with arms, atomic energy,
benami transactions, customs, explosives, passports, narcotic drugs and moneylaundering.
After breaking away from BJP, Naidu has accused the Centre of using the CBI, the
income tax department and enforcement agencies to arm-twist opposition parties.
Interestingly, AP gave its consent to the CBI only in August, that is after the break-up.
The fast-changing political scenario in the state after the attack on YSR Congress
president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy last month forced Naidu to do a rethink on open
consent. Moreover, there were several raids by the I-T department and enforcement
agencies on businessmen allegedly.