Sunday, November 8, 2020

Fly on the Wall - NCB Wings clipped - Why Murmu fell out of favour?

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

NCB Wings clipped
The tremors of Sushant Singh Rajput’s case continue to haunt the powers that be. The CBI was wise enough not to act in haste and harass Rhea Chakraborty in the abatement to suicide case. But the Narcotics Control Bureau headed by Rakesh Asthana seems to have bitten more than he could chew. He went overboard in the Bollywood drug probe case by summoning all and sundry and arresting petty drug peddlers and consumers. Finally, the Supreme Court gave a shock to the NCB and took away its key power. The NCB is among the four such investigation agencies where any statement made by a person before an officer is admissible as a confessional statement. Normally, a statement before the magistrate under section 164 CRPc alone is treated as a confessional statement. The NCB, Enforcement Directorate, Customs, Excise and even Income Tax officers have been given the powers under the law to treat statements before an officer as a confession before the court. The CBI, state police and other agencies do not enjoy this privilege. But the SC gave a shock to the NCB under the Narcotics Drugs Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act, 1985, for misusing this power to extract confession and struck down the very clause. The court said that NCB such officers of the NCB are police officers and statements made before them are not admissible as evidence. This is a huge setback to the NCB and the Union Home ministry is worried as NCB is under it. The SC ruling may also cast a shadow on the enormous powers of the Enforcement Directorate and other such bodies. Insiders in the government say that the Ministry may ask for a review of the ruling which gave a split 2:1 verdict. But for now, NCB wings have been clipped. 

Click here to read full article in Hindi and Marathi

Why Murmu fell out of favour?
G C Murmu was Prime Minister Modi’s most favorite Gujrat cadre officer from the days when he was Chief Minister. He handled all sensitive matters when Modi was facing onslaught from the CBI and other agencies during the UPA era. It was Murmu who used to coordinate with top legal guns in Delhi during those tumultuous years. Unassuming and savvy IAS officer hailing from Jharkhand was given key posts and finally Modi sent him to Srinagar as the first Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir. It was his first independent charge. Modi had great trust and faith in his abilities. But things went haywire somewhere and the PMO got worried. Perhaps, Murmu failed to deliver what Modi desired. Modi was unhappy that he did not travel extensively in the state and kept himself confined to the spacious Raj Bhawan in Srinagar. As if this was not enough, he also had a running battle with the Chief Secretary who was senior to him in the service. Finally, Modi decided to send a political heavyweight Manoj Sinha to stem the rot and take some bold decisions. If Sinha had the ears of the Prime Minister, he also had a perfect rapport with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Sinha is a political bird and has developed a personal rapport with political class in the Valley too.

Elusive Amit Shah
The health of Union Home Minister Amit Shah continues to be a cause of worry in the BJP. Though hehas recovered from fatigue and tiredness after Covid attack, he is avoiding traveling on medical advice. It is largely because of this very reason that he did not campaign in the Bihar polls as was expected which proved a blessing for the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who addressed 24 rallies. Even a shy BJP Chief J P Nadda came out of the shadow to address five rallies a day. Shah did not go to Kevadiya (Gujrat) and stayed back in Delhi. He opted to go to Patel Chowk at Parliament Street here along with the President and the Vice President to pay homage. But he will be traveling to West Bengal and start addressing rallies there.

The prized RS Seat in Bihar
Who will get the Rajya Sabha seat fell vacant after the demise of Ram Vilas Paswan? No one is sure. The LJP is still part of the NDA in Delhi and thereby Chirag Paswan hopes his mother Reena Paswan will be given the seat. But it will depend on the outcome of the Assembly polls on November 10.