Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The government on Friday said it has given more powers to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) following Supreme Court’s observation to give investigational autonomy to agency.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, V Narayanasamy, said on Friday that the Union cabinet, on the recommendations of a Group of Ministers, has agreed to grant greater autonomy to the CBI.
“We have prepared an affidavit which will be submitted before the Supreme Court and thereafter in Parliament,” Narayanasamy said.
The Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared suggestions by the GoM to bring autonomy in the working of CBI which includes constitution of a panel of retired judges to oversee the investigations undertaken by the agency besides increased financial powers of its director.
Sources said the GoM, chaired by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, has recommended constitution of a panel of retired judges which would monitor the investigations undertaken by the agency to ensure that probes remain free from any external influence.
It has also recommended increase in financial powers of the CBI director and a new mechanism for the appointment of the director (prosecution) which is at present a Law Ministry appointee.
The recommendations will now be part of the affidavit to be filed before the Supreme Court early next week which would hear the matter on July 10.
The government is also likely to tell the apex court about the pending Lokpal Bill which is under consideration of the Rajy Sabha. The Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha has recommended that the CBI director should be selected through a collegium of the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India.
The Group of Ministers, also comprising Law Minister Kapil Sibal, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Narayanasamy, had concluded its deliberations on Monday.
The government`s move to constitute the GoM came after scathing observations of the Supreme Court on the functioning of CBI while hearing the coal block allocation scam case.
The Supreme Court had indicted CBI for being a "caged parrot" of its political masters while hearing a case related to irregularities in coal blocks allocation and directed it to make an effort to come out with a law to insulate CBI from external influence and intrusion.
"...CBI has become a caged parrot. We can`t have CBI a caged parrot speaking in master`s voice. It is a sordid saga where there are many masters and one parrot," the Supreme Court had said during a hearing on May 6.
The court`s remarks had come following an affidavit from CBI Director R Sinha who admitted to have shared a draft coal blocks allocation probe report with former law minister Ashwani Kumar and two joint secretaries -- Shatrughna Singh and A K Bhalla -- in the Prime Minister`s Office and Coal Ministry respectively.
(With PTI inputs)