Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government Tuesday ruled out recommending a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the arson last month at state Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi`s house after her remarks against Chief Minister Mayawati.
"The question of instituting a CBI inquiry into the incident does not arise as the state Crime Branch is competent enough to investigate the case impartially and to bring the guilty to book," Additional Cabinet Secretary VS Pandey told mediapersons.
"The Chief Minister is convinced that the state`s own machinery is fully equipped to handle the case and ensure that those involved in the crime do not go scot-free," he said.
Joshi`s house here was set on fire, allegedly by activists of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and she was arrested from near New Delhi during the night of July 15 for her remarks against Mayawati. She has since been granted bail.
The Congress party in the state has demanded a CBI inquiry into the attack on Joshi`s residence here.
Pandey quoted the Chief Minister and listed out a number of cases that were investigated and solved by the Crime Branch of the state`s Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID).
"Even the attack on BSP leaders at the state guest house here on June 2, 1995 was entrusted to CB-CID. I wonder if the nature of this case merits an investigation by CBI," Pandey said.
"In any case, out of the 24 cases referred by us to the Central government for CBI probe, as many as 15 were turned down on the plea that the agency did not have sufficient manpower, or that the cases did not merit a probe by the agency.
"They would not have easily accepted this case too, so there was hardly any point in recommending it for a CBI inquiry," the official said.
"The Chief Minister wishes to make it clear that the guilty would not be spared under any circumstances. After all, she did not allow even her own party MPs and legislators to go scot-free once it was found that they were involved in an act of crime," Pandey said.
The official`s remarks came on a day the government took the same stance on the floor of the assembly, when there was much uproar over the demand for a CBI probe.
Congress Legislature Party chief Pramod Tiwari and several other members attacked the BSP government for avoiding a CBI probe as, they said, that would expose the direct involvement of the state police and ruling party leaders in the arson.
The Mayawati administration was also criticised by the entire opposition for its alleged apathy towards the prevailing drought in large parts of the state.
A number of opposition leaders flayed the state government for the "utter neglect" of Bundelkhand region, for which Mayawati has been demanding a special economic package of Rs.80,000 crore.