DailyPost 2569

Criminal investigations have defined India’s politics any number of times. Our current evolving political scenario provides one such watershed moment in modern Indian history enabled by criminal investigations. In its gamut, for sake of easier understanding we can include allegations, audits, foreign / Indian investigative journalistic stories, media trials, social media outpourings and not for forget even agitations. Criminal charges fueling investigations or agitations demanding better ways of dealing with corruption and crime, based on one / few big cases of the time. When so much is at stake, the logical question to follows is; how credible is our investigation and even more relevant, how independent is it.

The replies these two questions are sufficient to understand the status of rule of law in this country and why and how courts generally keep passing stinging remarks on our investigation. These remarks are even on most critical of the cases and on most basic of investigation principles, procedures, legal presumptions, evidence and the narrative so created. So many times, we get a feeling that the police or the investigative agency is not doing the investigation, but the government of the day is providing the trajectory. All these issues have come to fore once again, with Karnataka CID, SIT, raiding residences, offices of four former CCB officials in the bitcoin case.

When the investigations can be unturned with this ease, whatever might be the reason, can the criminal investigations related credibility issue can ever be sorted out? Or the masses would be permanently be lost into believing whatever they want; false cases, application of sections of law whimsically, lack of scientific investigation, lack of supervision and that anyone can be framed and anyone can be left. All these need not happen in vast majority of the cases, but even if it happening in sizeable numbers, including numerous important cases, then what our fate? For both the accused and non-accused, organizations being impacted by it and the society at large.

There were red flags against Mehul Choksi before the hell broke loose. The other part of the story is what intense investigative effort goes into small cases or information, where there is a likelihood of major scandal / crime on the cards. We have had big terror cases where the criminal investigation did not carry the credibility is should have. We have all been very familiar with the 2G and other such cases and the fate those cases met and also the political implications of it. The officers who supervise all these cases and supposedly decide upon it, come from the same ilk, and laws and processes all remain the same. Their training and practice are also uniform and standardized. Here we are not talking of cases which are not brought to book deliberately and the cases prosecution lost for lack of competent lawyers or the ecosystem failing them. If all pending important criminal cases were to be sorted out correctly today, we will see new India in no time.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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