A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked the CBI to tread cautiously in policy matters, it was the turn of the Finance Minister to dwell at length on the functioning of the agency.
"Unfortunately, there are a number of cases where investigating agencies and other authorities like Comptroller and Auditor General, have overstepped their limits and attempted to convert bonafide executive decisions into either crime of abuse of authority," he said delivering his key note address on "building a criminal justice system to deal with financial crime" at Golden Jubilee function of CBI.
Chidambaram cautioned the agency to respect the line that divides policy-making and policing. Referring to the role of public servants in financial crimes, the Finance Minster also said the investigating agency must confine itself to the question whether there has been a violation of laid down rule of conduct.
"It is not the business of the investigating agency to lay down a rule of conduct nor is it the business of the investigating agency to presume a rule of conduct."Even where a rule has been prescribed, if there is a policy behind that rule, it is not the business of the investigating agency to question the wisdom of the policy or to suggest a different policy that would be better in the view of the investigating agency," Chidambaram said.
The Finance Minster said as long as there are reasons given in support of a decision, such reasons should ordinarily rule out any criminal state of mind.