The Opposition has often accused that the UPA Government of using the CBI as an instrument to garner support from allies and fence-sitters in Parliament. On Thursday, the accusations acquired a ring of truth.
The Central Bureau of Investigation conducted ‘raids’ at DMK’s heir apparent M K Stalin’s residence, barely two days after his party broke ties with the UPA in the Centre. Stalin, said to be the “architect” of the DMK’s split with the UPA, called the raids “an act of political vendetta”.
As the Government found the taint difficult to wash, a visibly embarrassed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came out to clarify that he was not in the know of the CBI intentions.
“We are all upset. The Government did not do it (order the raid),” the Prime Minister said, admitting that the “timing of the CBI raid at Stalin’s residence is unfortunate.”
It appeared that the PM was leading a chorus of denial. Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, and Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy, all spoke out to dissociate the Government from the CBI’s action.
Chidambaram, an MP from Tamil Nadu who tried his best to restrain the DMK from quitting the UPA alliance, said that he usually refrains from commenting on other departments but is making an exception. The CBI raids, obviously, came too close for his comfort.
“I strongly disapprove of the CBI action. It is bound to be misunderstood,” he said.
As it did look like a vindictive act of a jilted partner, Chidambaram made displeasure apparent, “Whatever be the reason, I am afraid it is bound to be misunderstood. I have conveyed my views to the minister in-charge.”
Echoing Chidambaram’s view, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said, “I strongly disapprove the action against Stalin. I’m really disappointed with the CBI.”
Calling the agency’s action “foolish”, he claimed that “the government is not dictating the CBI, why it would do such a foolish thing.”
Narayanasamy and another MoS Rajiv Shukla went to the extent of “condemning” the CBI, demanding “appropriate action should be taken on how these raids have been conducted and we are completely against such things.”
The plethora of statements from the ministers blasting the CBI, a department which comes under the Central Government, had few takers in the Opposition.
The BJP, for instance, said the CBI searches are a typical example of “blatant’’ misuse of power by the UPA Government for its survival.
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said that the raids prove beyond doubt that the government uses the probe agency to muffle allies who are walking out of the ruling coalition.