Shimla: “Legitimate political interference in the functioning of CBI is part of the democratic mandate but the premier investigative agency will always guard itself against any illegitimate interference,’ said Ashwani Kumar, the new director designate of the country’s top investigative agency here on Friday.
Interacting with the media before leaving to take up his new assignment, Kumar said that to insulate the organization from political interference, there were guidelines in place and having a fixed two years term for the director’s position is one of them. Dismissing the allegation that CBI was increasingly becoming a political tool for the government to get at its adversaries, he said, “There was functional autonomy while discharging professional duties in the organization.”
He said CBI was a purely professional investigative agency tackling corruption cases, interstate or international crime and others which the courts and state governments ask it to investigate. When questioned about the aftermath of the terror bomb strikes in Bangalore and Ahemdabad and a need for a national coordinating agency to sieve through counter-terrorism intelligence advocated by Gujarat chief minister Narinder Modi, the new director said, “CBI should be able to fill the role provided it gets the government support for it.”
“Expanding the agency’s role is purely the governments’ prerogative but in the present pretext it was not possible,” he said. Talking about manpower constraints, he said that CBI with a work force of just about 5000 personnel meeting the needs of a nation of over 1 billion people was definitely out of proportion.
More than the numbers, it is quality of the human resource available and skills upgradation that would need to be improved, he said. Increasing the workforce would depend upon the work load, he added. Commenting on the obtrusive role of media in the investigation process, he said that media had an important role to play and it was nice to have it on your side.
He said that CBI commanded respect among international investigative agencies and had never lost any election for a position on the Interpol body which consisted of 179 member agencies. He said that CBI was ready to fulfill its role for eradicating corruption but unless it became a movement around the country, its efforts would remain limited.
About his stint as DGP of Himachal, Kumar said that reforms like separating urban policing from rural policing, separating investigation from law and order maintenance and traffic management were some of the initiatives that needed to be carried out.