The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Govt push for police powers to CBI

New Delhi, April 21: The CBI can act as a Central law enforcement agency till such time as the states agree to a policing organisation that will tackle crimes with national ramifications, Cabinet secretary Kamal Pande suggested today.

The Centre has for long been toying with the idea of creating a Central law enforcement agency on the lines of the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as certain criminal cases go beyond the jurisdiction of one state.

In the absence of such an agency, the CBI can adopt its role, Pande said in his speech at the fourth D.P. Kohli Memorial Lecture on “Law Enforcement Issues — Need to Reform”.

Bureau director P.C. Sharma, special director U.S. Misra and former Cabinet secretary Naresh Chandra, too, spoke at the lecture, organised by the CBI in memory of its first director.

According to Pande, a Central law enforcement agency, though necessary, has not been established so far because state governments are wary their policing powers would be diluted once such a body came into existence.

The problem facing the country is not inadequate laws to tackle crimes of various types, but the feebleness of implementation that needs to be urgently tackled, he said.

Many existing laws are being misused and some others are underutilised, Pande said while criticising investigating agencies for resorting to shortcuts to solve cases.

The ways to restore people’s confidence in the criminal justice system must be found, he said. People are scared of sharing information with the police because they harass instead of relying on more scientific and humane investigation methods.

Chandra, the chief guest on the occasion, said the standards of policing in the country were declining.

Chandra quoted a former chief justice of India, saying “the criminal justice system of India was about to collapse under its own weight”.

There was a need to improve policing in police stations because the administration came into contact with the common man at this basic level, Chandra said.

People have also lost faith in the administration because of undue interference by politicians. The government should concentrate on basic facts of administration instead of relying on various committee reports recommending improvements in the criminal justice system to bring about changes to investigative agencies, Chandra said.

He gave away the CBI’s Best Detective Constable award for 2002 to Vellaisamy Lakshman, posted in Chennai.

Lakshman, who is now in Delhi on deputation from the Railway Protection Force, had gathered sensitive and crucial information in certain cases investigated by the Chennai branch of the CBI.

CBI director Sharma, calling for investigative reforms, said the bureau was waiting to adopt the recommendations of the Justice Malimath Committee, whose report on criminal law reforms was submitted to the Centre today.

Law enforcement agencies have been criticised by the public, the media and the judiciary for failing in their duties, he said.

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