The government will submit its proposals to make the CBI more autonomous to the Supreme Court before July 3, after the law ministry has vetted them, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said Friday.
"The government will submit the proposals of the Group of Ministers (to make the CBI more autonomous) before the Supreme Court before July 3. The proposals were approved by the cabinet Thursday. The law ministry has to vet the same," Chidambaram told reporters while briefing them on cabinet decisions.
Chidambaram, who headed the Group of Ministers (GoM), refused to divulge details of the proposals as the affidavit has to be filed before the apex court.
"We can talk to you after July 4," he said.
Informed sources say the proposals include ways to make the premier probe agency financially more autonomous, so there is a greater freedom in investigations.
According to the sources, the GoM has suggested that a panel of retired judges monitor the CBI probes, to free the agency of outside influence.
But there were concerns over this clause as the CBI can brief only the courts of probe details.
"Whatever is being proposed is not in conflict with the existing legal provisions," Chidambaram said.
According to the sources, the GoM has suggested that it would not be good to separate the investigation and prosecution wings of the CBI for functional reasons of supervision, and that the attorney general of India would be the sole arbiter in case of a conflict between the views of the two departments.
The GoM has also suggested that the tenure of the CBI chief should not be less than two years.
The GoM was constituted after the Supreme Court, while examining the coal blocks allocations a few months ago, referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as a "caged parrot" and asked the government to suggest ways and means to make the agency autonomous by July 10, the next date of hearing.
The apex court was upset with the government after CBI chief Ranjit Sinha submitted an affidavit saying the draft probe report in the allocation of coal blocks had been shared with the political executive, including the then law minister Ashwani Kumar, besides officials in the coal ministry and the Prime Minister's Office.
Besides Chidambaram, other members of the GoM are Law Minister Kapil Sibal, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanasamy.