A petition in the Supreme Court Monday sought framing of guidelines for time- bound completion of investigations by the CBI to ensure that cases involving "high and mighty" are not mishandled or delayed.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna issued notices to the Centre, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the CBI on the petition which also sought direction to the authorities to give status report on cases which are pending with the probe agency for five or more years.
The plea, filed by advocate Maneesh Pathak, has claimed that due to absence of guidelines for time bound completion of investigation by CBI, the accused involved in the case get time to play with the primary or substantial evidence which weakens the case.
"Thus for this reason the agency (CBI) has been often been even criticized a number of times for its mishandling of several scams and cases handled by it in the past. It has also been criticized for dragging its feet investigating prominent politicians, such as P V Narasimha Rao, Jayalalithaa, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav this tactic leads to their acquittal or non-prosecution," the plea said.
It said that investigation in several cases probed by the CBI had led to "very slow progress" as no such guidelines of completion of probe in a time-bound manner are being given or mentioned in the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, or in the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2013.
"This lead to the delay in the investigation of many cases, especially if they bound to be high profile with high and the mighty people from the politics or the bureaucracy involved in it which resulted in pendency of cases since years even decade," the plea has claimed.
"In some of the cases, the accused, having connections with influential and the high class people like politicians and bureaucrats delay the cases pending against them till their connections form the government, thus leading to the form of 'single directive' system in that case from the authorities with whom the accused have connections with," it said.
The plea further claimed that delay in probe also led to tampering of necessary evidence in high-profile cases which led to doubtful and dubious results of the investigations even after they get solved out.
"Number of times it had happened that the case started in the tenure of one government, got delayed or stopped as the government changed and the next government came due to the influence of the high and mighty people involved in such cases," it alleged.
The plea said that transfer of an investigating officer also delays probe which further leads to delay in cases like the recent Muzzafarpur shelter home sexual assault case.
"In many high profile cases like that of Moin Akhtar Qureshi or that of Coalgate scam or the 2G scam, the cases took longer than what was really required or expected and even the Supreme Court has made an observation of the delay or time taken in the completion of an investigation by the CBI and that was due to the influence of the accused on the people in the bureaucracy," the plea has claimed.
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