New Delhi: Rebuked for being a ‘caged parrot’ that listens to ‘its master’s voice’ last year by the Supreme Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday was granted financial autonomy by the Centre.
Its Director also got ex-officio powers of the Secretary, a move which is expected to strengthen the agency - which many say has become a political tool in the hands of the ruling classes - in dealing with cases involving politicians and the powerful.
As per information available, Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran will convey to the Supreme Court the Centre's decision during a hearing in the coal block allocation proceedings on Wednesday.
The CBI, it was learnt, often faces silly bureaucratic hassles in its day to day functioning. It has to seek government approval even if it needs to buy a new laptop or hire a consultant.
The CBI had told the apex court that it needed more autonomy – financial and functional – for better functioning. Courtesy this new move by the Centre, the CBI director can now approve a spending of up to 15 crore – which means it can independently send its officers abroad, get access to new technology et cetera.
In May last year, the Supreme Court chided both the government and the investigation agency for the former’s interference with the Coalgate scam. Questioning the credibility of the CBI on the coal probe, the Court went on to say that "the heart of the report was changed on the suggestions of the government officials."