GoM discusses CBI autonomy

Last Updated: Thu, May 23, 2013 20:54 hrs

The Group of Ministers (GoM), formed to decide on the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI's) autonomy, held its first meeting in the national capital on Thursday to discuss the issue.

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde was absent in the meeting.

Following the meeting, the GoM will now take a ´political´ call on what steps should be incorporated to make the probe agency more autonomous or whether it will make minor changes to enhance the powers of the CBI Director.

NDTV citing sources reported that union ministers Salman Khurshid and V Narayanasamy recommended minor changes, but Chidambaram along with Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal said that the mood is for an overall change in the way the CBI functions to give it greater autonomy.

Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram earlier this month said the GoM on the CBI´s autonomy will work towards giving the probe agency a functional autonomy.

"We will give the CBI functional autonomy. But all over the world - all bodies are accountable to somebody - they are accountable to executive, they are accountable to the legislature, they are accountable to the courts," Chidambaram had told media.

"I think what we have to ensure is that no one interferes with the investigations of the CBI," he said.

The GoM is headed by Chidambaram.

The CBI has reportedly demanded financial and functional autonomy, which includes a special statutory mechanism for the removal of the CBI director.

The CBI has also reportedly asked for a 3-month time period for sanction of investigation.

The Centre formed the GoM days after the Supreme Court examined the CBI´s nine-page affidavit that specified the alterations made by former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and others to the agency´s report on the coal block allocations scam and observed that the probe agency has become a ´caged parrot´ and it is speaking in its "master´s voice".

The Supreme Court had earlier said the CBI should be out of the political interference while hearing the case whether CBI report was tampered by the Law Minister and other leaders.

The court had ordered the agency to work without any political interference to attempt to restore the agency´s position.

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