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Group of Ministers to frame law on CBI autonomy set up
Tuesday May 14, 2013 11:40 PM, IANS

The government Tuesday constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) to prepare a law on the autonomy and independence of the CBI in the wake of Supreme Court's scathing observations on the investigating agency following its affidavit in the case relating to the allocation of coal blocks.

The GoM will prepare a draft law and a draft affidavit to be filed in the Supreme Court within three weeks.

"The prime minister has approved constitution of a Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider the matter relating to an appropriate law being made to provide for the independence of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and its functional autonomy," an official release said.

The GoM would be headed by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and has Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid as members.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy is also a member of the committee.

"The GoM will prepare the draft law and the draft affidavit to be filed in the Supreme Court in the context of the Writ Petition (Civil) No. 120 of 2012, within three weeks," the release said.

It said that the department of personnel and training will ensure that agenda/papers/minutes of the meetings were expeditiously forwarded to the Prime Minister's Office and the Cabinet Secretariat.

The Supreme Court had last week termed the CBI a "caged parrot" that "speaks in its master's voice" and asked the government whether it intended to make the agency's functioning independent.

It had expressed displeasure at the government's interference in the coal allocation probe report and said "the heart of the report was changed on the suggestions of the government officials".

The court's observations had come on CBI director Ranjit Sinha's second affidavit which stated that the then Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and senior officials of the Prime Minister's Office and the coal ministry had made certain changes in the report on the allocation of coal blocks.

The Supreme Court had asked the government whether it was contemplating a law to make the working of the CBI independent and insulate it from extraneous intrusion and interferences.

It also said that if the CBI is not made independent, it will step in and noted that CBI must know how to stand up against all pulls and pressures by government and its officials.

The court had said the best things would be that such a law was put in place before the next hearing of the case July 10 so that there would be an impartial and non-partisan independent investigating agency.

It had said that job of CBI is not to interact with government officials but to interrogate to find the truth.

The court's observations had forced Ashwani Kumar to resign.


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