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SC to examine CBI staff strength, bottlenecks in filling vacancies

New Delhi: After trying to uncage the CBI from various pulls and pressures of its masters, the Supreme Court on Monday embarked on the examining if the existing strength of the agency was sufficient to investigate the large number of cases it was probing and the bottlenecks in getting the officers to fill its 754 vacancies.

A bench of Justice T.S.Thakur and Justice C. Nagappan sought information on the vacancies in the Central Bureau of Investigation’s own cadre, when the last revision in its strength took place and the numbers of cases that were there when that occurred and their numbers now.

The court sought response from the investigating agency on several counts relating to its staff strength – both of its own and those coming from the states on deputation – as it was told that it had 754 vacancies as its staff strength and particularly how the investigators were unmatched to the undertaking of probing the Saradha and non-Saradha Chit Fund scam cases.

The court’s query came as Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the CBI, said that they have been “orally” informed West Bengal has decided to provide the investigating agency with three deputy superintendents of police, two inspectors, five sub-inspectors and ten constables to augment its strength for these cases.

Describing the officers offered by the West Bengal Police as “wholly inadequate” to meet the challenges of mammoth investigations before it, he told the court that CBI was faced with manpower crunch as it was short of 754 officers.

He said the sanctioned strength of the CBI was 4,544 from its director to a constable at the bottom but in actuality, they have only 3,790 personnel.

Telling the Solicitor General that “this is your government. You have to respond”, the court framed several questions for seeking information including the agency’s sanctioned strength, actual availability, time of last revision in strength took place and the number of cases the agency was dealing then, the numbers today, the recruitment procedure and the bottlenecks.

Directing the next hearing of the matter on September 14, the court asked the West Bengal to double the number of officers it had offered to the CBI.

West Bengal was asked to provide the agency with the panel of names to pick from, and this would include the names of 12 DSPs, eight inspectors, 20 sub-inspectors and 40 constables.

Out of this CBI would pick-up six DSPs, four inspectors, ten sub-inspectors and 20 constables, and these personnel would be on deputation under disciplinary and administrative control of the probe agency.

The court’s specific direction that the West Bengal Police personnel would be on deputation was to resolve the contention by CBI that the state police was offering its men on attachment basis that would not satisfy its requirement as these officers would have to be sent to other states to deal with investigation of other cases.

The court was told that CBI never deploys the officers of a particular state for the investigation of cases from that state.