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States train at CBI as a punching bag

By MK Shukla & Rakesh Ranjan- 11 Nov 2020
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Without any apparent provocation, the Punjab Government on November 09, 2020, withdrew its general consent (GC) given to the central government for entrusting any serious case of corruption in the state to the CBI. The decision is seen to have been made in sync with the other Congress and anti-NDA states of Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Bengal. 

In recent times, the practice started off with Andhra Pradesh when it was ruled by TDP leader CB Naidu, who in the last months of his reign felt frightened about the central government employing the CBI to hound him using the pretext of some corruption cases. Didi of West Bengal was quick to take the leaf from Naidu and immediately followed in his footsteps to fend off any investigation into her links with several Ponzi schemes in the state that had robbed ordinary people of their hard-earned savings.

While the central government may or may not have used the CBI all the time for political purposes, non-NDA states aren't sure when the CBI may be used against them on one pretext or another. Their fears, real or imagined, have really heightened following the way the Sushant Singh murder case was transferred to the CBI. Never mind the fact that the states, irrespective of political affiliations, have been reckless in often using the state police forces to settle their petty political disputes.

While the Punjab government has been reticent on the reason/s for withdrawing the GC to CBI, it is learned that CM Capt. Amarinder Singh chose this tactic to make his displeasure known to the central government on the issue of suspending goods and other trains services in the state in the wake of the continuing farmers' agitation against the newly enacted marketing laws for agricultural produce.

He is also said to be unhappy with the fact that even though he pleaded with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on November 07, 2020, to restart the train services in the state in view of the disruptions already caused in the supply of coal to thermal power plants and of fertilizers for the Rabi crops, besides damaging a whole lot of other industries in the state, nothing absolutely was done to redress his pleas.

Captain is said to be further sulking over the fact that the center has on its own invited farmers' leaders for a dialogue on November 13 even without showing the courtesy of informing him. Since Union agriculture minister Narendra Tomar and Union railways minister Piyush Goyal will discuss all the issues with the farmers' delegation at the residence of  Union defense minister Rajnath Singh, the CM would have appreciated very much if he, too, were invited to be part of the solution. But, perhaps, he harmed his own cause by having a resolution passed in the state assembly against the new agriculture produce marketing acts.

And now, by withdrawing the GC for CBI without any apparent provocation, Captain is seen unnecessarily taking a totally avoidable offensive posture against the Center.  Can he afford it, really?

(By M K Shukla & Rakesh Ranjan)

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