Lokpal panel: Opposition wants greater autonomy for CBI

Members of opposition parties in a Parliamentary panel have demanded that CBI be given greater autonomy.

New Delhi: Members of opposition parties in a Parliamentary panel have demanded that CBI be given greater autonomy by proposing that its funds are sourced directly from the Consolidated Fund of India.

The demand for greater autonomy for the investigating agency was made during the meetings of the Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Lokpal held recently, sources said.

The issue is likely to come up for further discussions in the committee`s meetings proposed before the Monsoon Session of Parliament which is to commence from November 22.

The panel has to submit its report to Rajya Sabha in the first week of the Winter Session.

It is learnt that some opposition members demanded that the agency be at least given a free hand in investigating cases even if it is not brought under the control of the anti-corruption ombudsman.

The Lokpal Bill passed in Lok Sabha last year has kept CBI out of the jurisdiction of the proposed ombudsman.

The opposition members are learnt to have also proposed that the Personnel Ministry should not be the `administrative` ministry of the organisation so that its image as an independent agency is not challenged.

The sources claimed if the government does not agree with the demand of the opposition parties, it could face difficulty in passing the Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha where it lacks numbers, especially after Trinamool Congress has walked out of UPA.

During its presentation before the panel in July this year, CBI had proposed creation of a separate Demand for Grant for it from the Consolidated Fund of India. It said the CBI chief should be the `grant controlling authority` and `chief accounting authority` for the grant.

"The Director, CBI, would exercise power of the Secretary to Government of India as provided under the delegation of financial power rules, 1978," the presentation before the committee had said.