In a move aimed at insulating the Central Bureau of Investigation from political interference, the Union Cabinet on Thursday approved recommendations of a Group of Ministers which include setting up of a panel of retired judges to oversee the investigations of the agency, besides increased financial powers of its director.
Based on the recommendations, government will file an affidavit before the Supreme Court by July 3. The issue will come up for hearing on July 10. Sources said the GoM, chaired by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, has recommended constitution of a panel of retired judges which would monitor the investigations undertaken by the agency to ensure that probes remain free from any external influence.
It has also recommended increase in financial powers of the CBI director and a new mechanism for the appointment of the director (prosecution) which is at present a law ministry appointee.
The government is also likely to tell the apex court about the Lokpal Bill which is under consideration of the Rajya Sabha. The bill passed in the Lok Sabha states that the CBI Director should be selected through a collegium of the prime minister, the leader of opposition of Lok Sabha and the chief justice of India.
A Rajya Sabha Select Committee had made similar recommendations. The GoM has also formulated official amendments to the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 to make the changes it proposes in the functioning of the agency.
The Act governs the functioning of the CBI. The move to constitute the GoM came after scathing observations of the apex court on the functioning of the CBI while hearing the coal block allocation scam case.
The Supreme Court had indicted the CBI for being a "caged parrot" of its political masters while hearing a case related to irregularities in coal blocks allocation and directed it to make an effort to come out with a law to insulate the CBI from external influence and intrusion.