2015: CBI finds itself at the centre of political criticism
The investigating agency faced heat from opposition parties through the year.
New Delhi: Searches in the premises of ruling BJP's political rivals in states and going cold on some controversial cases kept CBI at the centre of political criticism this year while repatriation of Chhota Rajan came as a feather in its cap.
Handing over of the sensational Sheena Bora murder case highlighted the Maharashtra government's confidence in CBI.
The agency faced heat from Congress for carrying out searches at the residence of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on the day of his daughter's marriage, though CBI claimed it was not an elaborate marriage function and hardly any publicity was given to the event.
Terming the action as "highly vindictive", senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said it was part of "Prime Minister Narendra Modi's hate agenda and political vendetta against Congress party and its leaders which has reached its zenith today with CBI raids at the residence of India's senior most Chief Minister".
Similarly, search operation at the Delhi Secretariat, on the floor which has the office of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, gave ammunition to Aam Aadmi Party which used the opportunity to target the central government.
Even as CBI claimed that the searches were limited to the office of Chief Minister's Secretary Rajendra Kumar in an alleged corruption case and Chief Minister's Office was "neither searched nor sealed", Kejriwal persisted with the allegations that "My own office files are being looked into to get some evidence against me. Rajendra is an excuse".
Besides Rajendra Kumar, CBI also registered a case against another Delhi Government Principal Secretary S P Singh for allegedly taking bribe from manpower contractors. CBI claimed to have recovered substantial wealth, 300 liquor bottles, gold, expensive watches from his possession.
The agency also registered an FIR against former Union Textile Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela and six others including the then Chairman-cum-Managing Director of National Textile Corporation for sale of prime property in Mumbai allegedly at "throwaway prices" to a private company.
The agency tried to ward off criticism from political quarters by taking credit for successful repatriation of wanted gangster Rajan from tourist town of Bali in Indonesia, based on an Interpol Red Corner Notice where he was arrested after arriving from Australia.
CBI also acceded to the request of Maharashtra government to take over investigation in all 71 cases registered by the state police but so far no case have been re-registered by it, implying start of agency probe, against the gangster who evaded Indian police for nearly two decades.
According to latest data, CBI registered over 978 cases till November 30 as compared to 1174 cases and preliminary enquiries registered in 2014. The agency has also completed probe in 761 cases till November 30.
The agency tried to give push to its probe against former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran as it arrested his additional private secretary and two others from a private TV channel run by his family but its request to get custodial interrogation was turned down by the Supreme Court which asked Maran to present him for examination for seven days.
The registration of case in the murder of Sheena Bora by the agency shifted the limelight from India's tinsel town Mumbai to the national capital with CBI trying hard to piece together the murder puzzle and motive behind the heinous crime which took place three years ago.
The arrest of former media magnate and Sheena's step father Peter Mukerjea by CBI in the case brought an element of surprise in the murder saga. Sheena's mother Indrani, her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna (not Sheena's father), and driver Shyamvar Rai were already in the custody of Mumbai police and then CBI.
Another case which brought focus to the agency was the alleged suicide of Karnataka IAS officer D K Ravi. CBI during the probe managed to prove that he had not called his batchmate, a woman officer, 44 times as claimed in local media reports. However, the inquiry is still going on.
The agency also filed its charge sheet in the suicide of actor Jiah Khan naming her ex-beau and fellow actor Sooraj Pancholi for alleged abatement of the act.