Group of Ministers will draft law to shield agency from external interferences

After facing the wrath of the Supreme Court for having failed to ensure functional autonomy to the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Union government on Tuesday formed a Group of Ministers to draft a law to shield the premier agency from external interference.

Headed by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, the GoM will have Salman Khurshid (External Affairs), Kapil Sibal (Communications and Information Technology, and Law), Manish Tewari (Information and Broadcasting) and V. Narayanasamy (MoS for Personnel) as its members, according to government sources. CBI Director Ranjit Sinha is likely to be called by the GoM for his inputs.

The sources said the GoM would come out with suggestions to give the agency more autonomy and “liberate the CBI from political interference.” It will draft a law which will be submitted to the Supreme Court before July 10, next date of hearing in the case of coal blocks allocation under the UPA and NDA governments. Last week, the court lambasted the government for its interference in the filing of a CBI probe status report on Coalgate. It also criticised the CBI for being a “caged parrot” of its political masters.

“The 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 Court observed. It asked the government to come out with a law to insulate the agency from external influence and intrusion.

The BJP had been criticising the government for misusing the CBI. It was under Opposition pressure that Ashwani Kumar resigned as Law Minister last week after he, along with some officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, was accused of making changes in the CBI’s status report filed in the court.

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