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Bring to book quickly all those guilty, Manmohan Singh to CBI

Saturday April 30, 2011 06:12:28 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said handling of the "high profile cases of corruption" that have attracted huge public attention were a "litmus test" for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that is probing the suspected financial scandals involving the telecom license allocation and the Commonwealth Games.

Inaugurating the new headquarters of the federal investigating agency at the CGO Complex in New Delhi, Manmohan Singh, facing charges of inaction over charges of gross financial irregularities and corruption that have plagued his government, minced no words in asking the CBI to bring to book the big fish involved in graft, without fear or favour.

"The CBI is today investigating many high profile cases of corruption that have attracted a great deal of public attention. The handling of these cases constitutes a litmus test for you," he told the gathering of CBI officers at the function.

Stressing on "fair action and quick results", the prime minister said: "The CBI should act without fear or favour and bring to book all those who are guilty, irrespective of their position or status."

The CBI has arrested former IT and communication minister A. Raja for allegedly selling scarce radio wave licences to telecom firms cheaply and thus causing losses to the exchequer.

Former Commonwealth Games chief organiser Suresh Kalmadi has also been arrested for alleged large-scale embezzlement of public funds in last year's international sports event in Delhi.

The prime minister also advised CBI officers to avoid the media and concentrate on work. "I would advise you to put your heads down and work hard, away from the media glare, to ensure early resolution of these cases."

He said it was important for the agency to ensure that its judgment was "rooted in hard evidence and is not influenced by extraneous factors".

"Ours is an open and free society. There will be many views and opinions on all issues. The CBI has to be sensitive to these but it has always to do what is right and correct. For an investigating agency, there can be only one guiding beacon, only one gold standard and that is the law of the land."

In the same breath, he also asked the agency to "avoid harassment to those who act in good faith in the discharge of their duties".

"There should be no vendetta, no witch-hunt and no harassment of the innocent. There should be no apprehension of punitive action for bonafide mistakes as we cannot afford an environment that breeds fear, inaction and indecision."

Manmohan Singh accompanied by Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily and IT and Communication Minister Kapil Sibal earlier toured the new headquarters building of the CBI. The building, on over 7,000 sq mt land in south Delhi's Lodi Road, has been built at a cost of Rs.186 crore. The imposing structure has 11 floors made of energy efficient toughened glass and steel.

Manmohan Singh hoped that the new building would provide a "congenial and comfortable habitat" for the probe agency that on an average registers 1,000 cases every year.

"Over the years the CBI has acquitted itself well as an independent, professional and competent investigating agency. It has set benchmarks for other investigating outfits in the country to emulate. But there is room for improvement. I would urge the officers of the CBI to strive tirelessly to set even higher standards of work," the prime minister said.

 

 

 

 

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