After SC ruling, CBI issues fresh norms for probing senior officials

Following the Supreme Court ruling last week that the Central Bureau of Investigation need not seek approval from the government before investigating senior bureaucrats, the CBI today issued a circular to its officers with fresh guidelines for such cases (See: CBI can probe top bureaucrats without government nod, rules SC).

CBI logoNow, the investigating officers need only take permission of the additional CBI director or above before launching investigations against any government officer of the rank of joint secretary or above. "Those found guilty of abusing their authority will be dealt with severely," CBI director Ranjit Sinha told newspersons in New Delhi (Heartened by SC ruling, CBI to unleash bunch of stuck probes into officials).

Sinha had earlier said the order had added more responsibilities on CBI as a proper mechanism had to be put in place to ensure that no innocent is subjected to this provision. "We have strengthened our already existing mechanism and due diligence will be done before questioning any senior officer," he had said.

No complaint against any such officer will be handed over to a CBI officer below the rank of Superintendent of Police, the guidelines said.

According to the latest CBI circular, any inquiry against a joint secretary or above officer in the government will have to be approved by a competent authority which would be either an additional director, or a special director, or the director of the CBI.

It said that in case of a complaint in any CBI office against a union minister, it shall be forwarded to the home ministry promptly for further action and the relevant file should remain in the personal custody of the head of the branch.

The officer should ensure that the departmental records are examined discreetly so that secrecy is maintained, it said, and advised officers to consult the records informally by contacting the vigilance officer or head of the department concerned.