Jitendra Singh said probe agencies like the CBI and the ED operate independently. (File)
Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday said probe agencies like the CBI and the ED operate independently and the central government does not interfere in their work.
Responding to a question regarding opposition parties' allegations of misuse of the investigating agencies by the Centre, he told reporters in Kolkata that the earlier UPA regime rather used them for their political interests.
"Those who say that the present government is using or misusing all these institutions - Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) - are at least speaking of their own mindset."
"They are speaking of UPA times when they were indulging like this. (When) they were manipulating the agencies to their advantage, to their political interest to the extent that the Supreme Court was constrained to say the term caged parrot," said Mr Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel.
He said the remarks of "caged parrot" was made when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was at the Centre.
"Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government follows all the norms and the values enshrined in the Constitution. These bodies function independently and there is no interference at all," the minister said, addressing a press conference after the conclusion of the G20 anti-corruption ministerial meeting here.
Mr Singh said the states (who accuse the Centre of misusing investigating agencies now) are the ones who have withdrawn the general consent given to the CBI to probe within their jurisdiction.
"If you compare, prior to 2014, you would recall that the CBI had proceeded in a big way against the then Chief Minister's Office and the then Home Minister of Gujarat. But not once the then Gujarat government withdrew the general consent to the CBI," he said without naming anybody.
Jitendra Singh said rather they cooperated with the agency and at the end of the day they -- the then Chief Minister and Home Minister -- were proved not guilty.
He further said those making these allegations of misuse of probe agencies themselves have "much to hide".
Earlier in the day, while addressing the G20 anti-corruption ministerial meeting here via video conferencing, PM Modi said India has a strict policy of zero tolerance against corruption.
To this, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee retorted that "Prime Minister Narendra Modi can't speak on corruption" as his government is "surrounded by issues like PM Care fund, Rafale deal and demonetisation".
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)