CBI wants ex-officio secretary`s status for director
Even after the rejection of its plea by the government, a defiant CBI Monday reiterated its stand that its director be granted the status of ex-officio secretary to the government so that he could directly communicate with the minister for DoPT and appoint counsels to represent the agency in courts.
New Delhi: Even after the rejection of its plea by the government, a defiant CBI Monday reiterated its stand that its director be granted the status of ex-officio secretary to the government so that he could directly communicate with the minister for DoPT and appoint counsels to represent the agency in courts.
The investigating agency in its affidavit filed before the Supreme Court Monday resisted the government`s position saying: "Financial and administrative powers of secretary to the director, Central Bureau of Investigation, are essential for the efficiency of the functioning of CBI in its day to day work and for insulating it`s investigations from interference."
It said it had no intention of extricating itself from government control.
"An impression has been sought to be created that the CBI wants to appropriate to itself the policy making functions of the government by insisting on secretary-level powers to the director, CBI," the investigating agency said in its affidavit.
The agency said "it was never the intention of the CBI to take itself out of the purview of the executive control, as provided in the statute".
Disputing the government`s stand that granting the status of ex-officio secretary to the CBI director would disturb the statutory scheme of administration, the CBI said: "The proposed changes are only administrative in nature that can be affected without any legislative intervention.
"The request of CBI would in no way disturb the statutory scheme of governance or necessary checks and balances."
The government in its affidavit before the apex court Nov 13, 2013, had opposed the CBI`s plea saying it would "disturb the requisite checks and balances and would have deleterious effect on criminal justice system".
"It merits reiteration that the sole purpose of the CBI in seeking powers beyond what has been granted to the CBI presently, is to make the director CBI more empowered to enforce and ensure more professional, efficient, expeditious and impartial conduct of CBI investigations in sync with its motto `Industry, Impartiality, Integrity` and also ensure the highest level of disciplinary and ethical conduct by CBI personnel," the investigating agency told the court.
The agency said the "functional efficacy and autonomy in investigation are intrinsically interlinked and that cannot be seen as watertight silos. There are many instances where lack of adequate administrative and financial powers has resulted in the investigation suffering inordinate and avoidable delays".
It emphasised that its request merits highest consideration by the top court.
"In this context, it has to be emphasised that operational autonomy of the CBI is predicated on the organisation having sufficient financial and administrative strength to ride over routine obstacles that may come in the way of its day to day functioning.
"This genuine request of the CBI merits the highest consideration" by the apex court.
The question of granting more functional autonomy to CBI surfaced in the course of the hearing relating to irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks.
Though the government had conceded some of the demands by the investigating agency, it said no to granting its director the status of an ex-officio secretary.