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Autonomy to CBI: 'The parrot is back in the cage'

Last updated on: June 28, 2013 12:20 IST

The suggestion to grant autonomy to the Central Bureau of Investigation has been approved by the Union Cabinet, but a former director of the premier agency feels that it is a hoax and the “parrot will remain in the cage”.

Former CBI director Joginder Singh says that it is nothing but a hoax and the measures that have been suggested to give the agency autonomy will not help in the long run.

“The proposal to set up a panel of judges to oversee the investigations will not help in my view. The CBI will be under these judges and in my view there is no autonomy in this move and the parrot will be back in the cage,” Singh says.

“The Supreme Court had said during a hearing on May 6that the CBI has become a caged parrot. We can't have CBI as a caged parrot speaking in its master's voice. It is a sordid saga where there are many masters and one parrot,” he adds.

Singh points out that while these measures adopted by the government will be part of the affidavit before the Supreme Court which has sought a change, there is nothing to indicate that the CBI will not be under the control of the government.

“The real problem lies there. Where is the autonomy in this respect? It is nothing but a bogus move and I really wish that someone does file a public interest litigation challenging this move by the government.

“If the government is really serious about giving autonomy to the CBI, then it should be granted the status of the Election

Commission of India, the Central Vigilance Commission or the Comptroller and Auditor General. These bodies have a proper autonomy and are not under the control of the government. We have seen that they are able to work independently without being caged or having several masters to control them. What is the harm in giving the CBI such a status? Moreover this business of sanction in cases of corruption ought to be taken away and the CBI should take a suo motu call on the same. Why I say that sanction should not be there in such cases is because corruption is not anyone’s business and such persons need to be dealt with.

“I do agree that people may fear that the CBI will become all powerful if such autonomy is granted. Why doesn’t one think that the ECI, CAG, CVC and also the Supreme Court has such autonomy? One must understand that giving autonomy does not mean that the agency will not work under the law. They are bound by the provisions of our law and they cannot divert from that. Moreover if anyone is aggrieved by an impugned action then they always have a right of appeal before the high court and also Supreme Court. Hence there is nothing really to worry about,” Singh notes.

Image: Former CBI Director Joginder Singh

Vicky Nanjappa