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Maharashtra govt withdraws general consent given to CBI to investigate cases in state

07:39 AM Oct 22, 2020 | Sanjay Jog

Mumbai: In a stern political message to the BJP government at the Centre, the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Wednesday said it would no longer allow the Central Bureau of Investigation to trespass on its territory.

With that, the state government has withdrawn the consent given to the CBI under section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. Hereafter, the CBI will need the state government’s express consent to probe the TRP or any other scam.

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The immediate provocation for the withdrawal of consent was the questionable manner in which an FIR was registered recently in Lucknow in the TRP scam case; this case was taken over by the CBI within 24 hours of the lodging of the FIR on the recommendation of the UP police. The FIR was registered by a Delhi-based advertisement company, which does not even have a registered office in UP.

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Earlier, on the recommendation of the Central government, a CBI probe was ordered in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case; the investigation was sourced in an FIR lodged in Bihar.

The MVA government’s decision is akin to the one taken by various other state governments, including Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, in the past; both states had, for their own good reasons, withdrawn their consent to the CBI.

The Maharashtra government had again accommodated the Central agency by allowing it, under the Prevention of Corruption Act, to probe Central government officials and bank personnel; this permission, too, has been withdrawn.

Three non-BJP-ruled states -- Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal -- have thus far withdrawn their general consent to allow the CBI to investigate cases in their jurisdiction.

A senior MVA minister told the Free Press Journal, ‘‘Today’s decision is both technical and political. There has been an increasing incidence of the CBI investigating cases, the origin of which is in Maharashtra. Law and order is a state subject and it was seen in the SSR death case how the CBI intruded in the state’s territory, which was highly objectionable. The reason assigned is that the Centre and the state, under the 60:40 formula, share funds in the form of aid or grant; therefore, the Central agency can probe matters assigned to it.’’ He further said with Wednesday’s decision the CBI cannot unilaterally come to Maharashtra and probe any case.

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