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Maharashtra withdraws general consent to CBI to investigate in the state

Photo Credit: PTI

In a notification issued by the Maharashtra home department headed by Anil Deshmukh, the state has withdrawn consent to the CBI to investigate cases. This means that the CBI will have to seek fresh consent from the state each time its officers wish to question or investigate in the state.

Additional chief secretary(home) Sitaram Kunte confirmed the development stating it was published as a gazette notification with the consent of the competent authority, which in this case is the state government. Principal secretary (home) Vineet Agarwal said the notification will only apply to future cases and will not affect any ongoing cases being investigated by the CBI.

The notification reads as follows :

“No. MIS 2020/CR-164/POL-2.—In exercise of the powers conferred by section 6 of the Delhi

Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (25 of 1946), the Government of Maharashtra hereby

withdraws the consent accorded to the members of Delhi Special Police Establishment vide

Government Order, Home Department, No. MIS 0189/CR-28/POL-3, dated 22nd February 1989, as

also by any other instruments issued by the Government of Maharashtra, from time to time, to

exercise the powers and jurisdiction under the said Act in the State of Maharashtra.”

The Maharashtra government had earlier this year put up a strong resistance to the CBI taking over the Sushant Singh Rajput case, as it was handed over by the Bihar police, citing jurisdiction issues. The move also comes at a time when the opposition leaders have demanded CBI inquiries into cases like the Palghar lynching. On Tuesday the CBI also registered a case in Uttar Pradesh in the TRP scam, which was first unearthed by the Mumbai police, a move that was being seen as an indirect attempt to take the case away from the state as the CBI comes into the picture if it is a multi-state probe.

Earlier, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh and West Bengal have also applied this provision which relates to section 6 of the act and reads as follows :

“The Section 6 (Consent of State Government to exercise of powers and jurisdiction) states that “Nothing contained in section 5 shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in [a State, not being a Union territory or railway area], without the consent of the Government of that State.”

West Bengal had seen a confrontation between state police and CBI when the latter wanted to investigate then Kolkata commissioner Rajeev Kumar, with the state police even detained CBI officials citing this provision.

The Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh is expected to address the press on Thursday to explain the stance of the state.

The opposition however has criticised the move. BJP MLA Atul Bhatkalkar said, “The government must come clean on this move. At a time when the state needs the help of the center to tide over the natural calamities, it is vitiating the atmosphere between the two.”

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