By Biswaraj Pattnaik in Puri, September 20, 2017: The premier investigating agency Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) does appear like a caged parrot even today as the agency reports to the DoPT secretary, routinely a mere puppet at the hands of the minister.

In the recent past, the CBI has severally urged the Supreme Court to free the agency from being a “caged parrot.”

The Centre has religiously rejected the CBI demand for greater autonomy and giving the Director a Secretary-level status. The agency has been merely asking for the administrative and financial powers of the Secretary, Government of India, and not seeking any enhancement of legal powers. Successive central governments have remained keen on the CBI remaining slave, parapsychology only to settle scores with enemies and intimidate opposition parties.

The CBI Director thus has never been empowered to enforce and ensure a more professional, efficient, expeditious and impartial conduct of investigations in sync with its motto ‘Industry, Impartiality, and Integrity’.

Not long ago the Aam Aadmi Party had lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP biggies over the arrest of Delhi Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar. Kejriwal had openly slammed the saffron party’s insane revenge tactics due to political bankruptcy. Sheila Dikshit – involved in some tanker scam, has never been summoned only because she had clearly threatened a hit back saying if she was touched, several BJP leaders would be dragged into the picture by hook or by crook as ample evidence against them was lying unused in her bag.

The recent midnight arrest of MLA Prabhat Biswal by CBI is a case in point which indicates terrible frustration and helplessness across the BJP turf. It’s no more classified information that the BJP is mortally afraid of a likely 2019 defeat in Odisha unless Naveen team members are defamed publicly and rendered unfit to fight elections.

Since Naveen is just too potent by all standards and parameters of popularity, the BJP strategists are plying foolish games. They seem to have abused the caged parrot to stage a sensational drama to confuse people. Prabhat’s wife had entered some land deal with a ponzi company, as a bonafide land vendor against an advance sum of money. The ponzi company failed to keep the commitment, sought money back and have the sale agreement nullified. The lady landowner returned the advance amount, with some minor outstanding, believably, which is not a crime in any way.

The CBI kept digging deeper and wider for three long years and gave up after finding nothing criminal. The sleuths reappeared suddenly to arrest the law maker on the midnight of 18 September. All the same, even if Prabhat is not a saint, it has nothing to do with BJD which never sponsored him to any private business venture. Even if there is some semblance of truth in Prabhat’s complicity, that cannot be used to tarnish the image of Naveen Patnaik.

But then that’s what the BJP seems to be doing in utter madness. The ‘Naveen fear’ eats them up so much! Dramatic moves by the caged parrot reveal the enslaved status of the CBI even today. The Modi-Shah duo must resort to more ethical methods of winning hearts of the masses.

Very interestingly, Amit Shah who keeps threatening all non-BJP regimes with demolition and jail-cramming, has been a tainted guy himself on very grave charges of crime.In 2010, Amit Shah was accused of orchestrating extra judicial killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauser Bi and his criminal associate Tulsiram Prajapati.

According to the CBI, Sohrabuddin had been harassing some Rajasthan marble traders by demanding hefty protection money. Two marble traders bribed Amit Shah hugely to eliminate Sohrabuddin. Shah, roped in DIG Vanzara and SP Rajkumar Pandian, hatched a plan and killed Sohrabuddin. Previously in 2004, DCP Abhay Chudasama had pressured Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram to shoot at two builder brothers Raman and Dashrath Patel, only to trigger a fresh criminal case against the two gunmen.

The police picked Sohrabuddin, Kausar Bi and Tulsiram, and put them in a farmhouse near Ahmedabad. Sohrabuddin was killed in a staged attack. Vanzara claimed he was a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative. Kausar Bi was also killed and cremated instantly for having been a witness. Tulsiram was initially let off, as he was an informer to Vanzara. He was eliminated only after Sohrabuddin’s death was exposed as an extrajudicial killing, by a journalist.

CBI claimed that Amit Shah had transferred Vanzara to various places in order to facilitate these killings. Vanzara and several other officers were arrested. As proof of Amit Shah’s involvement in the crimes, the CBI presented phone call records, which showed that Shah had been in touch with the accused police officers when the victims were in their illegal custody. It also presented video tapes of Patel brothers’ conversations with two of Amit Shah’s associates at Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB).

The video tape shows ADCB Director Yashpal Chudasama and its Chairman Ajay Patel asking the brothers not to involve Amit Shah’s name in the case. Yashpal is the brother of the accused police officer AbhayChudasama. According to the CBI, Abhay used to run an extortion racket, with Sohrabuddin as his henchman.

The Patel brothers, had also said that Amit Shah had used police to falsely implicated them into various cases between 2001-2005 only to extort money. Vanzara made them talk to Amit Shah over phone, and Amit Shah forced them into giving a statement against Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram.

But Shah had dismissed all the accusations. He stated that he kept in touch with the police officers on the phone in the normal course of his duties as Home Minister. He accused the Congress of misusing the CBI, and claimed that the encounter cases in Gujarat only were being scrutinized when the rest of the country had witnessed around 1500 encounters during the same period. In 2010, Police Commissioner Geeta Johri, investigating the case, claimed that CBI pressurised her to falsely implicate Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin case. Thus DG Vanzara, also accused in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case was nabbed, but Amit Shah managed a clean chit in the case.

Shah and Modi have been accused of side-lining the police officers who testified against the Gujarat government in the fake encounter cases. Additional DGP R. B. Sreekumar, who gave evidence to the Nanavati-Shah commission , was allegedly denied promotion. Rahul Sharma, who handed over phone records of police officers and politicians to the Commission, was charged with violating the Official Secrets Act.

Additional DGP Kuldeep Sharma alleged that he had been moved from the police department to ‘Gujarat State Sheep and Wool Development Corporation’ after he accused Shah of taking a bribe of Rs 2.5 crore to bail out a conman who fraudulently withdrew Rs 1,600 crore from the Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank. Kuldeep Sharma was later made advisor to the central home ministry by the Congress government. His brother Pradeep Sharma was imprisoned in Gujarat from 2010 to 2011 on corruption charges.

Later, in 2013, Shah was accused of having ordered illegal surveillance on a woman in 2009. The investigative websites Cobrapost and Gulail released a set of taped audio conversations between Amit Shah and police officer GL Singhal. The tapes had been submitted to the CBI in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, and were leaked to these portals.

The ‘call details’revealed how the state machinery was used to keep watch over the woman and the suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma. BJP’s political opponents demanded a probe in this “Snoopgate” case. However, in May 2014, the woman approached the Supreme Court and stated that the surveillance on her was based on a “personal request”, and she was thankful to the Gujarat government for ensuring her safety. She requested the court to block any investigation, stating that it would violate her privacy.
Shah denied all the accusations against him, calling them political propaganda by his opponents.

Amit Shah was arrested on 25 July 2010 in connection with the Sohrabuddin case. He was charged with the murder, extortion and kidnapping among other charges, thereby hurting his political career badly. Most ruling leaders of Gujarat distanced themselves from him. His fellow ministers hated him for being arrogant and autocratic.

When Amit Shah applied for bail, the CBI raised concerns that he would use his political power to prevent justice from taking its course. The Gujarat High Court granted him bail three months after arrest. However, when the courts closed next day, Justice Aftab Alam took a petition at his residence to bar Shah from entering Gujarat.

Shah was thus forcibly exiled from the state from 2010 upto 2012. He and his wife moved to a room in Gujarat Bhawan, Delhi. Later, the Supreme Court cancelled his bail on a CBI plea. In September 2012, the Supreme Court granted him bail, and allowed him to return to Gujarat. He then contested and won the 2012 Assembly election from Naranpura constituency.

So, the Modi-Shah duo, it seems is steadily turning a terror team to extract votes by confounding the masses.

Prabhat Biswal may not be a saint. But Shah is not one for sure !