RJD legislator asks Nitish Kumar govt to withdraw general consent to CBI in Bihar
RJD legislator Bhai Birendra said there should be a law to make prior consent of the state government compulsory before federal agencies can initiate any action
PATNA: Days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) questioned former chief minister Rabri Devi and carried out searches in the alleged land-for-jobs scam, the Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Monday asked the Nitish Kumar government to withdraw its general consent that allows the federal agency to investigate cases in Bihar.
“The way central investigating agencies are acting against opposition leaders, there should be a law on the lines of the one in West Bengal and some other states, to make prior consent of the state government compulsory before initiating any such action. This is a misuse of the central agencies and that is what we want to stop,” RJD legislator Bhai Birendra told the state assembly on Monday.
The lawmaker’s demand to enact a law to bar federal agencies is a reference to an executive order issued by eight other Opposition-ruled states including West Bengal, Telangana and Chhattisgarh to withdraw their consent allowing CBI to investigate cases in the state under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act. This order, however, does not bar the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from investigating cases where proceeds of crimes are alleged to have been laundered by suspects.
Monday’s demand comes against the backdrop of CBI questioning Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi, both former chief ministers, and issuing fresh summons to their younger son and deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav in connection with an alleged land-for-jobs scam.
On Friday, ED also conducted raids at the houses of the RJD chief’s three daughters and a daughter-in-law.
To be sure, leaders of the RJD and Janata Dal-United did support the demand to withdraw the general consent for CBI but the Nitish Kumar government didn’t issue the notification.
Birendra said the Centre was trying to silence opposition voices in states where the ruling BJP was weak but ‘such tactics will not work.
The opposition BJP was, however, quick to hit back. “Laluji always used to say that he would not buckle under CBI pressure, but he had to go to jail. If the RJD wants to rein in central agencies to protect itself, it should make a law, if it can,” BJP MLA and former minister Pramod Kumar said.
BJP MLC Nawal Kishore Yadav said that the country would be run according to the Constitution and the law. “Why are they becoming jittery when CBI and ED ask for the source of income? All action by investigating agencies is based on evidence,” he said.