Today, it’s unlikely that a matter gets media attention and there is not a demand for the CBI to investigate it. In recent months, the investigation agency has been involved with, or its involvement has been sought in, such cases as the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, cow smuggling, the Hathras rape and murder, and even the Hindutva conspiracy theory of “love jihad”.
But if the CBI investigates every case of some profile, what are state police forces supposed to do? And whatever happened to the CBI being a “caged parrot”, meaning a tool of the central government? Can a “caged parrot” be entrusted with such a wide remit?
In the last five months, at least five state governments have withdrawn prior permission for the CBI to investigate cases within their borders. Why? What does it say about how the agency has been functioning?
Meghnad S examines the functioning of the CBI, why it exists, and whether and how it can be reformed.