The Group of Ministers tasked to draft measures to make the CBI autonomous met for the first time Thursday. The GoM is expected to meet again after Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde returns from the US.
MoS for Personnel,Public Grievances and Pensions V Narayanasamy briefed the GoM about CBIs financial powers and autonomy,the Supreme Court judgment in Vineet Narain case and recent provisions introduced in the Lokpal bill. Narayanasamy told the GoM about hurdles faced by the CBI in seeking sanction for prosecution.
The GoM is expected to ask the CBI to give a presentation on its functioning at a future meeting. The CBI is of the opinion that the provision to seek the governments permission to probe officials of a rank higher than joint secretary impedes probe into corruption at high places. The government,however,is averse to giving up this power,arguing that it will expose senior bureaucrats to witch-hunting.
CBI officials said that though the government has directed all central ministries and states to give sanction for prosecution within 3 months or else cite reasons for not granting it,the directions are not being followed and as a result a large number of cases are pending. So when they are called before the GoM,CBI officials said,they will press for setting a deadline for grant of prosecution sanction.
The GoM also discussed CBIs financial autonomy and Narayanasamy gave details of funds given to the agency over the years. Sources said they expect the GoM to increase the CBIs budget and grant its director more financial freedom.
The GoM also discussed CVCs supervision of the CBI it acts as a superintendent at arms length and does not interfere in investigations as well as the Lokpal committees suggestion to have a collegium comprising,among others,the Chief Justice and the leader of opposition to select the next director.