New Delhi: While the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI’s) probe into the ICICI Bank case has hogged the limelight, Union Minister Arun Jaitley took a swipe at the agency by calling it a case of “investigative adventurism” that had digressed from focusing on the primary targets.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Jaitley, who is in the US, wrote, “Sitting thousands of kilometers away, when I read the list of potential targets in the ICICI case, the thought that crossed my mind was again the same — Instead of focusing primarily on the target, is a journey to nowhere (or everywhere) being undertaken? If we include the entire who’s who of the Banking Industry — with or without evidence — what cause are we serving or actually hurting.”
Directing his message at the agency, he said, “My advice to our investigators — Follow the advice of Arjun in the Mahabharat — Just concentrate on the bull’s eye.”
Jaitley’s remarks come in the wake of former ICICI Bank Ltd chief executive Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon group managing director Venugopal Dhoot being booked for alleged criminal conspiracy and cheating.
He said, “one of the reasons why our conviction rates are poor is that adventurism and megalomania overtakes our investigators and professionalism takes a back seat”.
Professional investigation, Jaitley said, targets the real accused on the basis of actual and admissible evidence. “It rules out fanciful presumptions. There is no personal malice or corruption. It targets the guilty and protects the innocent. It secures convictions and furthers public interest”.
“There is a fundamental difference between investigative adventurism and professional investigation. Investigative adventurism involves casting the net too wide including people with no mens rea or even having a common intention to commit an offence, relying on presumptions and surmises with no legally admissible evidence. Adventurism leads to media leaks, ruins reputations and eventually invites strictures and not convictions. In the process, the targets are ruined because of harassment, loss of reputation and financial costs. It costs people their career.”
Jaitley was supposed to return just in time to present the Interim Budget on February 1. But he had a surgery this week and is recuperating in a US hospital.