After the Supreme Court on 10 February 2009 criticized the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly “acting at the behest” of the political leadership at the Centre in the disproportionate assets case against former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, the CBI has received yet another setback – this time from Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla.
On 18 February 2009, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla termed as “very doubtful” the report of CBI on the death of Rev Chanchinmawia, an influential church leader, who died under mysterious circumstances at his official residence in Khatla in Aizawl in October 2007. The church maintained that he was murdered but the CBI ruled out any “foul play” in the priest’s death.
The casting of doubts by the present Chief Minister over the CBI inquiry ordered by the previous government headed by Zoramthanga speaks volumes about the credibility of the CBI. In August 2008, the CBI was handed over the case after many sections of the people, including the Presbyterian Church, did not accept the findings of the Special Investigation Team of the state police concluding that the priest had committed suicide.
The faint indication of Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla that the CBI could be bought should be damaging for the CBI’s image. It seems that the CBI has completely lost its credibility in the eyes of the leaders and the public as it has been increasingly accused of acting under the influence of the ruling party to subvert justice.
Whether true or not, it seems both the leaders and the common man have lost faith in the CBI as a credible independent institution.