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   I am slowly coming to the conclusion that CBI... (October 16, 1996)

I am slowly coming to the conclusion that CBI is not the best investigation agency n the world. It could be among the worst. The release on bail of Mr. Sukh Ram is further indication of this.

If ever a case was cut and dried and ready for disposal, it was Mr. Sukh Ram's. Money was found bursting out of the seams and beams of his several houses, some of it carelessly bundled in Bombay Dyeing bedsheets. There was no way in which, on a minister's salary, he could account for it. Further, he was clearly found to be associated in scams within his ministry and there were witnesses to bear out that he was the principal perpetrator and beneficiary of these scams. The Congress party had washed its hands of him, the courts were prepared to give their fullest support to the investigations and denouement.

And yet it took the CBI more than a month to get him home from England. Tickets were booked and cancelled, all sort of demands were made such as the presence of doctor on board the aircraft. When he finally did return, the CBI was given all facilities to arrest him directly at the airport and keep him in its personal custody at its headquarters.

For more than a month it tried to break him - not a born criminal, not a particularly shrewd amn - but it failed. Finally, the CBI threw up its hands and yesterday he was out on bail, a comparatively free man.

It is my observation that a person, once enlarged on bail, is seldom reasserted. Look at out Harshan Mehta for one. Or, forget him, consider Kalpnath Rai, or H.K.L. Bhagat. Last heard, or, which was last week, Mr. Bhagat was taking a walk in the Lodhi Gardens, surronded by a half-dozen security men. And the security men were there to protect him, not to watch that he did not jump bail.

So, what's the score? So far, the CBI has investigated a large number of political VIPs. Most of them at the direction of the judiciary, otherwise it would not have bothered. It has apprehended a few persons, most of whom have cleverly malingered into staying in private rooms in hospitals and not in prisons. And each and every one of them, with the single exception of Chandraswami and his Mamji, have got out on bail. If Chandraswami has not succeeded, it is because as a nation we have abandoned all gods, including Godman Chandraswami.

To continue, some of the persons have been charge-sheeted, but nobody has been tried, no hearings have started on a day to day basis, mainly because the CBI lawyers plead that they are not ready with their cases yet. And, of course, nobody has been sentenced. From havala to Sukh Ram, the CBI has drawn a blank.

Sometimes, I wonder whether it was a wise thing to transfer the Kini case from the state CID to the CBI.

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