The group of Ministers (GoM) constituted by the Prime Minister to work on a draft law, which would provide for functional autonomy to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has suggested that a panel of retired judges may be formed to oversee the agency’s investigations.
Sources said the recommendation along with other suggestions of the GoM would be placed before the Cabinet on June 27, where a final decision would be made on the measures suggested by the GoM, which was chaired by Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
In the concluding meeting of the GoM held on Monday, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha gave a presentation giving the agency’s point of view. Coming out of the meeting, Law Minister Kapil Sibal told the media that once the Cabinet gives its views on the changes proposed by the GoM on June 27, an affidavit would be submitted in the Supreme Court 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 by the CBI or any other agency. We are committed to it. We feel that there should be accountability along with autonomy,” Sibal said.
He said the GoM would move the Cabinet to make the changes “to ensure that there is no interference, whatsoever, in the processes of investigation” of the CBI either by the government or by any other authority.
The GoM was constituted in May this year after the Supreme Court came down on the government for failing to ensure ‘functional autonomy’ of the CBI. The apex court said the CBI was 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 its master’s voice. It is a sordid saga where there are many masters and one parrot,” the court had said during a hearing on May 6. The observation came following an affidavit from Sinha who admitted to have shared a draft coal blocks probe report with former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and two joint secretaries—Shatrughna Singh and A K Bhalla—in the PMO and Coal Ministry.