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  Opinion   Edit  08 Apr 2024  AA Edit | Don’t politicise criminal probes

AA Edit | Don’t politicise criminal probes

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Apr 8, 2024, 12:11 am IST
Updated : Apr 8, 2024, 12:11 am IST

Recent incidents in West Bengal highlight the escalating challenges to non-partisan law enforcement and criminal investigation in India.

A police vehicle after it was attacked by villagers during NIA's investigation into the 2022 Bhupatinagar blast case, in Purba Medinipur district, Saturday, April 6, 2024. (PTI Photo)
 A police vehicle after it was attacked by villagers during NIA's investigation into the 2022 Bhupatinagar blast case, in Purba Medinipur district, Saturday, April 6, 2024. (PTI Photo)

The administration of criminal justice which includes investigation of crimes is a non-partisan affair in most democracies but, sadly, not in India. Politicisation of the police and other investigating agencies has been one of the ills faced by the citizenry for long, and it appears that this has escalated, posing unacceptable challenges to policing and criminal investigation.

The latest such instance comes from West Bengal. Two sets of cases have been registered in Purba Medinipur district on Saturday; one against a mob for attacking officials of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) gone to Bhupitaninagar to arrest two in a 2022 blast suit, and another based on a complaint that the NIA officials trespassed into the homes of the accused and molested women there.

The NIA has a legal mandate to investigate cases all over the country falling under certain categories. It is incumbent upon the police of the state to facilitate those investigations. The NIA says it had formally informed the local police but not enough security was arranged. That said, the NIA team was bound by statute and the orders of the Supreme Court and there must be no complaint against its officials such as been raised now. 

A team of the Enforcement Directorate was attacked a few months back in West Bengal when they entered a village to probe into a money laundering case. Yet, an ED official was also arrested in Tamil Nadu late last year on charges of corruption.

Such incidents have no place in a democracy where the rule of law is paramount. Criminal investigations must face no impediment and must be conducted in a professional manner. There must be proper protocols for the Central agencies to follow as well as for the state police forces to coordinate with the said agency officials. It is unbecoming of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to rise in defence of the mob attacking the NIA team, but steps must be taken to ensure that the actions of the investigation agencies are conducted per set rules so that no CM is put in such a position.

Tags: aa edit, national investigating agency (nia), enforcement directorate (ed)