BEWARE of the ‘Rs’ in the CBI,” cautioned a colleague as I joined the organisation on deputation. In spite of my insistence, he didn’t elaborate.
The first folder to land on my table was marked FR-1. As I read it, I found it delineated the result of investigation into a case handled by an officer. Unable to decipher what FR-1 meant, I sent for the officer who explained that the term stood for ‘final report, part-1’. The explanation left me somewhat confused, but I dismissed the officer and kept the FR-1 for further reading.
The next day, I received a file marked ‘FR-2’. It was a report prepared by a public prosecutor (PP) on an FR-1.
Face-to-face, the PP explained that there were deficiencies galore in the investigation which he had brought out in his FR-2 and which the investigating officer (IO) must attend to.
“But you are a public prosecutor. Aren’t you supposed to conduct cases in courts?”
“I do that, too, Sir. Besides, I prepare FRs-2,” he replied. “Aren’t prosecution and investigation separate as per the law? How are you involving yourself with investigation?” I expressed my doubts.
“Not so in the CBI, Sir. Moreover, I don’t investigate, I only advise,” he clarified, adding, “You would be writing my ACR, too.” The ACR needed no elaboration. The fear of annual confidential report is what keeps a subordinate on the right side of his boss! The PP was thus under the control of a police officer unlike in a state.
In quick succession followed files marked SFR-1, SFR-2, FIR and SIR. I could come to grips with FIR-first information report — a terminology I was familiar with. SFR-1 and SFR-2 also presented no insurmountable problem of comprehension, the same being supplementary final reports —part 1 and 2, prepared by the IO and the PP, respectively. What, however, bogged me down was the SIR, the source information report. The first one presented to me was on a public servant, delineating in some detail the properties amassed by him. The assets were alleged to be disproportionate to his known sources of income.
“Who is your source?” I asked the officer who had prepared the SIR. “Sir, there was an anonymous complaint which, on verification, yielded results, and hence I converted it into an SIR,” he confessed candidly.
“But aren’t anonymous complaints supposed to be filed straightaway?” “You are right, Sir, but here in the CBI, the verifiable ones are subject to verification and converted into SIRs if allegations are found to be true. Verified SIRs may result in FIRs,” he stated.
“But who would be the complainant in such an FIR?”
“The unnamed source, Sir,” he chuckled.
Confusion in me got more confounded! The multiplicity of ‘Rs’ had already befuddled my mind. However, with the passage of time, things smoothened out and I took to the tricks of the trade as naturally as fish to water!
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