Under watch and watching a lot

The arrival of a Lokpal is set to leave the CBI walking a tightrope, held on one side by the corruption watchdog and on the other side by the government, with the agency often accused of being controlled by the party in power. What will be equally interesting to watch in 2013 is the role of the Central Vigilance Commission, which has so far been monitoring the CBI.

In the Lokpal era, a collegium will select the next CBI director; it will comprise the prime minister, the chief justice of India and the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha.

The CBI will be be tested in political cases involving the likes of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati ahead of the 2014 elections, besides the one against Jaganmohan Reddy. The BJP has criticised the CBI for implicating Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

Other challenges lie in the probes into coal block allocations, into which the Opposition has dragged the prime minister's name, defence deals such as Tatra-BEML, and the bribery issue involving former Army chief V K Singh and Lt Gen Tejinder Singh, besides identifying the defence officials who allegedly leaked sensitive information to arms dealer Abhishek Verma. The bribery case involving Denel, a defence PSU of South Africa, has seen little headway since 2005.

In the past two years, the CBI has handled complex and high-profile cases such as the Bhanwari Devi murder, the Shehla Masood murder, the Adarsh scam, the 2G allocations scam and the Aarushi murder, besides high court-monitored cases such as the Obulapuram mining scam and the NRHM scam in UP.

The CBI handles nearly 1,000 cases every year. It has often complained of being short-staffed and 2013 will see recruitments in an effort to double its probing capacity.

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