War against Centre: After AP, WB withdraws general consent to CBI

Following the foot steps of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandra Babu Naidu, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee too withdrew the ‘general consent’ accorded to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct raids or carry any sort of investigations in the State.

The General consent to the CBI was accorded by the then left government of West Bengal in 1989. The CBI functions under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act and thus, requires the official consent of the State governments to accord it special privileges, which is termed as ‘general consent’. Every state, except Karnataka has given its general consent to CBI in the past.

In the case of Andhra Pradesh, after bifurcation, the AP state government used to renew the general consent every year. However, a leaked confidential GO on Thursday night revealed that State government has withdrew its general consent to CBI on November 8, 2018.

It means that no Central Investigation agencies can carry on raids or investigations in the states of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal without the permission of the State government. The rule can be bypassed if a raid or an investigation is carried out with an order from the Court of Law.

In a media release, Mamata Benarjee said “What Chandrababu Naidu has done is correct. Central government cannot play with agencies like CBI and ED to torture the State governments with political vendetta. This is one of our steps to show that State governments are not puppets in the hands of the Centre”.

Though the move may seem meaningful in the case of Andhra Pradesh, where according to the CM the step was taken due to increased presence of the Centre in the State through raids over MPs and other TDP associates. Chandrababu Naidu called the move from Centre as ‘targeting TDP for leaving the NDA alliance’. But, on the other side, people are of the view that stopping CBI raids may give unnecessary freedom to wrongdoers. After all, what CBI can do if TDP MPs and their relatives are clean without a sin?. Is  Babu worried about Centre bringing out TDPs loopholes ahead of the elections?. If not, he would have openly challenged the CBI and the Centre to show if there are any discrepancies in his government!