The Kerala government has decided to withdraw the general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to operate in its territory. The investigative agency will now have to take permission from the state government before registering cases there. Kerala joins the list of non-BJP-ruled states West Bengal, Rajasthan and Maharashtra in taking this decision.
The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.
According to sources, the immediate provocation for the move was registering of a CBI case in ‘life mission’ housing project, a flagship initiative of the Kerala government to provide shelter and housing to the homeless.
The project was stalled temporarily after the CBI registered a case to probe alleged irregularities in the ‘Life Mission’, forcing the state government to approach the high court. The high court had stayed the CBI investigation for two months.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on November 2 said that various central investigating agencies probing into the gold smuggling case are exceeding their jurisdiction in a concerted effort to malign and destabilise the constitutionally elected government in the state.
“Investigation is what an agency should do privately. People from outside the agency are announcing through media about how the agencies will work, what they will do next. The agency works the next day exactly how these people announce beforehand. Selective leakage of statements is happening based on agenda,” Vijayan said, adding that investigation should not be based on prejudice and a professional investigstion should be conducted with an open mind.
“Investigative agencies don’t have the right to interfere in government projects while they are being implemented. As part of the constitution, there is CAG to look into the income and expenses of the government. If the investigation agencies look into the state government projects while they are implemented, they are interfering with the project and it affects the common man. The CAG is there to look into this,” he said.
Vijayan said the state government’s right to take policy decisions and their authority will not be surrendered before anyone.