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Centre files affidavit on CBI autonomy in Supreme Court

Centre files affidavit on CBI autonomy in Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Central government on Wednesday filed a 41-page affidavit in the Supreme Court spelling out steps to bring autonomy in the functioning of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The government said the affidavit has been filed to place on record recommendations of GoM on making CBI autonomous.

According to the affidavit, the appointment of a CBI director is to be made by a committee comprising Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and Chief Justice of India or an SC judge.

Prime Minister will be the chairman of the committee.

The Union Cabinet had earlier cleared suggestions by the Group of Ministers to bring autonomy in the working of CBI which include constitution of a panel of retired judges to oversee the investigations undertaken by the agency besides increased financial powers of its Director.

The government's move to constitute the GoM came after scathing observations of the Supreme Court on the functioning of CBI while hearing the coal block allocation scam case.

The Supreme Court had indicted 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 CBI from external influence and intrusion.

"...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 remarks had come following an affidavit from CBI Director R Sinha who admitted to have shared a draft coal block allocation probe report with former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and two joint secretaries - Shatrughna Singh and A K Bhalla - in the Prime Minister's Office and Coal Ministry respectively.

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