The government today said it is committed to ensure that there is no interference in investigations carried out by CBI or other agencies and that autonomy should come with accountability.
The Group of Ministers constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on appropriate law being made to provide for the independence of CBI and its functional autonomy, as directed by the Supreme Court, concluded its hearing today and would place its recommendations before the Cabinet on June 27.
Emerging from the one-and-a-half-hour-long meeting in which CBI Director Ranjit Sinha was also called to present his point of view, Law Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters that once Cabinet gives its views on changes proposed by the GoM, an affidavit would be submitted before the Supreme Court in this regard on July 6.
"We have decided and that is fundamental principle of the Constitution that there should be no interference of government or any other agency in the probe carried out CBI or any other agency. We are committed to that. We feel that there should be accountability along with autonomy," he said.
He said the group would move the Cabinet on June 27 for the changes that will be made "to ensure that there is no interference, whatsoever, in the processes of investigation" of the CBI either by government or by any other authority.
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 and directed it to make an effort to come out with a law to insulate CBI from external influence and intrusion.
Chaired by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, the GoM also includes External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy.
In today's meeting Khurshid was not present, sources said.
"...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 observation had come following an affidavit from CBI Director Sinha 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 A K Bhalla--in the Prime Minister's Office and Coal Ministry respectively.
The GoM has met for three times and is not inclined to bring drastic changes in the functioning of the CBI, government sources said.
CBI, which is probing irregularities in allocation of coal mine blocks on the direction of CVC, has so far registered 13 FIRs in the matter.
The agency has questioned two former officials as witness which were posted in PMO during the period 2006-09 with regards to coal blocks allocated during the period.