USING RTI : Officer obtains list of 18 prosecutors whose names have not been notified in the gazette

New Delhi, June 5: The prosecution department of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) finds itself in a flap over the Right to Information (RTI) Act, more so because this time the consternation has been caused by one of the agency’s own prosecutors.

Over the past few months, Rajindra Singh, one of CBI’s public prosecutors in its Economic Offences Unit (EOU-V1), has been on an RTI filing spree. Following requests filed by him under provisions of the 2005 Act, he received a list of 18 CBI prosecutors who were conducting trials but had yet not been notified in the official Government gazette.

The RTI filing did not stop there. Singh also obtained a list of seven cases where accused persons had been convicted in CBI cases and has since written to the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), and the CBI Director asking for “stringent” action against errant officers and for declaring the trials conducted by the yet-to-be notified prosecutors as “illegal and vitiated”.

Citing court rulings, he has also demanded an all-India examination of cases conducted by prosecutors who are not notified and for the release of all persons who are “victims of vitiated trials”.

When contacted by The Indian Express, senior officials in the CBI’s prosecution wing said the issue was “under examination” by the agency’s law officers.

Singh, in the meantime, said he had since received communication from the CBI units—where the seven convictions were obtained—that their own legal officers were of the opinion that the trials were unlikely to be declared null and void.

It is understood that the issue is to be taken up by CBI Director Vijay Shankar and Director of Prosecution S K Sharma.

Interestingly, Singh has also cited a 2004 circular issued by Sharma to all CBI superintendents asking for lists of all prosecutors who were yet to be notified as per provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.

This circular says, “Any trial, appeal, revision etc being conducted by a law officer, special counsel, retainer counsel before any Court without notification under Section 24 or 25 of the CrPC is void.” :: Its own prosecutor puts CBI in a spot