The developments concerning the CBI Joint Director V V Lakshminarayana and the leakage of his Call Data Records (CDR) are most unfortunate. As an officer, he has immense credibility in neutral circles and is seen as a person who is actively pursuing the case. This episode has cast shadows and at a personal level, I would like it to turn out to be false propaganda.
But having said that, while the veracity of the data put out by YSR Congress has to be established, an investigation officer, unlike a law and order office, does not need to talk to the media. Unless of course, he has evidence to be collected from the media. This selective interaction in a high profile case, as is evident from the CDR is a matter of concern and Lakshminarayana should have displayed some restraint.
One needs to remember that the CBI is already being accused of partisanship. It is not enough just to do things in a just manner, you should also be seen as being just. In this case, one person is speaking to a few persons which is followed by news reports appearing in the newspapers and TV channels. This frequent reportage of CBI interrogation of Jagan and others in his disproportionate assets case gives rise to doubts. Because the media cannot have such exhaustive information unless someone from within the CBI is leaking details. Why didn’t the CBI prevent and plug these leaks?
You cannot find fault with the media for publishing or telecasting these details because that is the media’s job. But a parallel trial in the media should be of concern to the accused and the CBI. This affects the credibility of the CBI.
In this case, the YSR Congress wanted to establish that the CBI is running a deliberate vilification campaign against Jagan. If CBI had nothing to hide, it should have filed a criminal defamation case against the party and Sakshi media group. The CBI has not reacted officially and its silence is only adding to the rumour mills. CBI, after all, does not operate in a social vacuum but in a hyper media environment.
We do know that the police also at times indulge in acts that are not strictly in keeping with the law. But such illegal acts erode its credibility. Just like here, where CBI is facing the flak for selective leaks.
On the other hand, one can argue that the YSR Congress should have complained to constitutional heads like the President of India or the Chief Justice of India. But then the party’s intention also was to play politics and boost the image of Jagan in the bargain.
As far as the media is concerned, it has not come out without a blemish from this episode. It is no longer an onlooker or an umpire. It is a player in the game and therefore is not playing a fair game.