New Delhi: The government on Tuesday constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, to prepare a draft law to insulate CBI from external influence and a draft affidavit to be submitted within three weeks in the Supreme Court which had made a scathing observations on the agency.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved the constitution of the GoM to consider the matter relating to an appropriate law being made to provide independence to CBI and ensure its functional autonomy, according to an official statement.
Besides Chidambaram, other members of the GoM included Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Law and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal and Minister of State for Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) V Narayanasamy, it said.
The GoM will prepare the draft law and the draft affidavit to be filed in the Supreme Court in the context of a writ petition within three weeks, the statement said.
The DoPT will ensure that agenda papers and minutes of the meeting are expeditiously forwarded to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Secretariat, it added.
CBI Director Ranjit Sinha will also give his inputs to the newly-constitued GoM.
The Group of Ministers will deliberate on ways to further strengthen CBI`s autonomy and safeguard it from any kind of outside interferences, they said.
The government`s move came after the Supreme Court had indicted CBI for being a "caged parrot" of its political masters while hearing a case related to alleged irregularities in coal blocks allocation. "...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 direction had come following an affidavit from the CBI Director who admitted to have shared a draft coal block allocation probe report with former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and two joint secretaries--Shatrughna Singh and AK Bhalla--in the Prime Minister`s Office and Coal Ministry respectively.
The apex court had also asked the government to make an effort to come out with a law to insulate CBI from external influence and intrusion.
The Group will finalise its findings and draft a law which will be submitted to the Supreme Court before July 10, next date of hearing of the case.
CBI, which is probing irregularities in allocation of coal mine blocks on the direction of CVC, has so far registered 11 FIRs in the matter.