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GoM may not bring substantial changes in CBI working

June 13, 2013 19:57 IST

Government may effect only minor changes in functioning of the CBI as the Group of Ministers constituted for empowerment of the agency would finalise on June 24 its affidavit to be submitted to Supreme Court, with no presentation from the CBI so far.

The third meeting of GoM headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram felt that some "gaps need to be filled" and the affidavit to be finalised at the next meeting will be put before cabinet before it is submitted to Supreme Court by July 3.

The GoM which saw the attendance of Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati for the second time discussed the "contours" of the affidavit to be filed in the apex court for an hour.

Speaking to reporters, Law Minister Kapil Sibal said "the group of minister met for about an hour. We have discussed the contours of the affidavit that is to be filed in the Supreme Court and the proposals for the amendments that are to be made which will be given to the Supreme Court along with the affidavit.

"Some gaps are still there which have to be filled up. The next meeting is on June 24 when the affidavit will be finalized then we will go to the cabinet and file affidavit before the Supreme Court by July 3," he said.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid could not attend the meeting.

So far, the CBI Director has not been invited to the GoM to give his inputs on strengthening and empowering the agency and its proposal to start probe against any officer above the rank of joint secretary, if a decision on giving sanction for prosecution does not come in the stipulated three months, has not found many takers within the government.

The sources said that the government was in no mood to bring in any CBI Act and may make some minor changes to Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, the law which governs the agency, so that the financial powers of the CBI Director were enhanced.

They said the agency wants strict adherence of three-month deadline in giving sanction besides powers for the director to appoint officers on deputation.

The GoM was constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to prepare a draft law to insulate CBI from external influence and an affidavit to be presented in the Supreme Court which had made scathing observations against the agency while hearing the coal blocks allocation case.

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

The court's direction had come following an affidavit from the CBI director, who had admitted to have shared a draft coal block allocation probe report with the then Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and two joint secretaries in the Prime Minister's Office and Coal Ministry.

The apex court had also asked the government to make an effort to come out with a law to insulate CBI from external influence and intrusion.

The group will finalise its findings which will be submitted to the Supreme Court before July 10, next date of hearing of the case.

CBI, which is probing irregularities in allocation of coal mine blocks on the direction of CVC, has so far registered 12 FIRs in the matter with the latest being against Congress MP Naveen Jindal and former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao.

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