The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) government will soon clear the decks for the Central Bureau of Investigation to take up corruption cases in the border state, a leader of the ruling party has said.
A notification issued by the erstwhile Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) government in 2010 had mandated the central probe agency to seek its prior consent, before taking up an investigation against any of its officers or public representatives.
"It is necessary to bring the CBI as it is the only agency which can bring to book those people who had indulged in large-scale corruption in the last 25 years," the chief minister's political secretary, Jacob Khaling Rai, told reporters on Thursday.
The newly formed SKM government has been searching for files related to malpractices by the previous goverment headed by Pawan Kumar Chamling, Rai, who is also the spokesperson of the SKM, said.
"We have activated the vigilance department and will contact the CBI soon to probe the corruption cases in Sikkim," Rai said.
The SKM spokesperson said that the SDF government had withheld permission to the CBI to take up investigations into corruption cases in Sikkim, but the new dispensation will soon open its doors to the central agency.
The SKM had pledged to bring the CBI to Sikkim in its election manifesto with the former chief minister, Chamling, being its prime target as the then opposition party had accused the latter of indulging in embezzlement of public money during his nearly 25-year rule.
The SKM had moved a writ petition in the High Court for quashing the notification, but it was dismissed.
In 1976, Sikkim had conveyed to the Centre its consent about the extension of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act 1946 to the northeastern state. The consent was, however, withdrawn during the second term of the then chief minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari.
Section 6 of the DSPE Act prohibits the agency from investigating cases outside Delhi (and Union Territories) without permission from the respective state governments.
However, the Supreme Court and high courts can direct the CBI to probe any case in any state.
In the recent polls to the 32-member state assembly, the SKM won 17 seats and the SDF 15. The lone Lok Sabha seat was also won by the SKM.