The Kerala cabinet has decided to revoke the general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate cases in the state. The agency will have to get prior permission from the state to start an investigation in the state. The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday and Kerala has joined other non-BJP rules states like Maharashtra in doing so.
As per the Section 6 of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, CBI has to get consent from respective states before registering a case and investigating on it. But in case of 'general consent', permission is automatically given to the agency to register cases without getting permission. The state has decided to revoke this and says this is to protect the spirit of co-operative federalism. It was in 2017, the Kerala government issued an order enabling general consent to CBI to investigate cases. Now, cabinet has decided to issue another executive order withdrawing the consent. However, the decision will not affect ongoing CBI cases.
Recently CBI had registered a case alleging violation in Foreign Currency Regulations Act (FCRA) in the Life Mission project of state government. The FIR was filed based on a complaint by Congress MLA Anil Akkara. However, the Kerala High Court later stayed the probe for two months and observed that the Life Mission doesn't come under FCRA.
Left Democratic Front leaders, like opposition leaders elsewhere in the country, have repeatedly said that the CBI was used as a political weapon by the union government. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had also came out against the CBI. He had earlier said that the state has every right to decide on the investigative agency.
Rajasthan, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh,Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra have at different times withdrawn general consent. Maharashtra was the latest to take a decision after CBI decided to investigate TRP rating scam in the state.