Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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In Indian Politics, misuse of power and corrupt officials isn't news. There's an onslaught of protective institutions in the country, but if these very institutions are misused for political gains, wrongfully incarcerating people or holding them under detention, then where should one go to seek refuge? At the behest of the ruling party, there is a long list of people who are languishing in jails for implausible reasons. This article will cover the abuse of such power and its various aspects. 

Issue and Contemporary

Last month, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided the private residence of Anil Deshmukh, who had earlier served as Maharashtra’s home minister. NCP chief Sharad Pawar termed it a “blatant misuse of central agencies for harassing political opponents”. Indeed, over the last few years, employing government agencies to gain a political edge over other parties is becoming a norm. 

To be clear, this is not a recent happening. In the heydays of Congress's reign, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had been nicknamed the Congress Bureau of Investigation or even the Central Bureau of Intimidation. In return, senior officials were promised lucrative post-retirement jobs. 

However, it has become more frequent during the BJP reign. Last year, an editorial in the Saamana magazine, which serves as Shiv Sena’s voice, had accused that ED was more active in states where BJP was not ruling. In other words, the party was deploying the directorate to specifically target its political rivals in a systematic, timely, and convenient manner. 

In 2020, S Ramachandran Pillai, a CPM member, and leader of All India Kisan Sabha also accused these agencies of “functioning illegally” in Kerala. Per him, the customs, CBI, and ED failed to cooperate with state governments and attempted to destabilize them. 

More recently, Bengal-based TMC party’s national secretary Abhishek Banerjee accused agencies of quickly passing over summoning BJP leaders allegedly involved in Ponzi schemes. 

Notably, ED and CBI are two central agencies that crop up most commonly in such discussions. The Enforcement Directorate is responsible for implementing the laws related to economic crimes, foreign exchange management, and money laundering. CBI, on the other hand, has a broader outreach, instituted especially to combat corruption. It is India’s premier investigation agency, looking up cases of bribery and other particular crimes. 

Ever since BJP rose to power in 2014, central agencies have investigated about 609 political opponents, dissenters, and other associated people. At 270, political rivals are the highest in this queue, followed by 140 of their associates or relatives. 
570 people on these agencies' radar are on the opposite side of the BJP’s political spectrum. In its end, it has tackled only 39 of its members for similar cases. Compared to the previous regime of the UPA government, this is a whopping 340% increase. 

Naturally, the most-targeted party, with 75 cases, has been BJPs primary national opponent, Congress. This is followed by Mamata Banerjee’s TMC, which has 36 cases. It has also been under fire in recent times for the illicit discovery of cash worth Rs 50 crore and gold from the houses of Arpita Mukherjee. She has been touted as a close friend of Partha Chatterjee, who commands a senior political position in West Bengal’s Trinamool Congress. 

All these raids and investigations had two underlying commonalities. First, they were carried out right before crucial political events like state elections. And second, they were almost exclusively carried out against the political party that was BJPs primary competition in the contested state. 

BJPs own slate for politician background remains extremely tainted. 34 out of 78 prominent ministers in the Modi cabinet have declared criminal cases pending against them. Out of these, 25 are serious, ranging from murder, robbery, and more. Nitin Gadkari, the current Minister for Road Transport & Highways has around 5 charges of forgery and illegal payments to his name. 

However, all cases against politicians miraculously disappear or fade into oblivion once they publicly declare their allegiance to BJP. Take the case of Himanta Biswas Sarma, who is the current chief minister of Assam. Back when Sarma was in Congress, he had been accused by the BJP of accepting bribes in a water supply scam by an American company. The US department of justice also recorded a charge sheet including his name under its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. 

But once Sarma became a BJP member, all demands pushing for investigating his involvement were put on the back-burner, with the intention to be completely forgotten. 

The Supreme Court, too, has taken cognizance of this matter. Per them, the functioning of most central agencies is far from impartial and fair. Incriminating files against MPs and MLAs are regularly prepared to pressurize people at the behest of politicians. 

It is no surprise that the CBI's credibility and autonomy have been constantly under question. It has often been dubbed as nothing more than a caged parrot, solely programmed by the party in power. 

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