In a major setback to the protesting IAS officers in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday summarily rejected their demand for CBI probe into the state Staff Selection Commission test paper leak scandal, saying the CBI sleuths are no better than state cops. The chief minister cited the status of some cases handed over to the CBI to prove his point.

“We recently handed over the three cases to the CBI—the case relating to the killing of self-styled Ranvir Sena chief, mysterious disappearance of a Bengali girl from Muzaffarpur and murder of a journalist Rajdeo Ranjan. What has happened to the cases?” asked chief minister, speaking in the Bihar assembly amid boycott by the opposition. According to him, the CBI probe has reached only there where the Bihar police had left the investigation.

He said the Bihar police are “efficient enough” to probe any case saying the state government had never been interfering into their functioning. Questioning the demand for a CBI probe, the CM said the CBI too takes the help of the police to investigate the case. He said more than becoming a fashion, the CBI demand is a tool to cover up the whole investigation.

Indicating he just can’t be cowed down, the chief minister said it was the duty of the officials to perform. “Those showing gross negligence towards duty will be punished,” he warned. He denied getting the memorandum from the IAS Officers Association for a CBI probe declaring he “would do something which will prove to be milestone in governance. Let the memorandum come to me”.

The IAS officers have been on the warpath in Bihar right since one of their senior colleagues Sudhir Kumar was arrested in the test paper leak scandal last week and have announced not to take verbal orders from any politicians including chief minister unless given in writing. The protesting IAS officers have so far met the chief minister, governor and the Speaker of the Bihar assembly seeking for a CBI probe into the scandal and immediate release of the arrested officer but to no avail.

Right now the matter is being investigated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Bihar police on the instruction of the state government and the chief minister has announced to bring the case to a logical conclusion. The SIT headed by Patna’s senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj has arrested 34 persons so far and the case is about to be cracked.