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No final word on CBI status yet

The government is burning midnight oil to strike a balance between the Opposition, Team Anna's demand to make the CBI an autonomous body and the investigating agency's concerns about the adverse impact the proposed changes might have on its functioning.

delhi Updated: Dec 17, 2011 00:29 IST
HT Correspondent

The government is burning midnight oil to strike a balance between the Opposition, Team Anna's demand to make the CBI an autonomous body and the investigating agency's concerns about the adverse impact the proposed changes might have on its functioning.

Among the proposals being considered by the government, one is to allow the lokpal to have supervision over the graft cases it will hand over to the CBI for investigation.

The government is also ready to consider the changes in the existing procedure to appoint top CBI officials, including its director.

The government appears set to accept the demand that these appointments should be made by a panel comprising the Prime Minister, leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the lokpal chairperson.

It is, however, not ready to allow any change in the administrative control of the CBI, which currently is with the department for personnel and training (DoPT).

The lokpal bill introduced in the Lok Sabha in August this year stated that 'lokpal shall constitute an investigation wing for the purpose of conducting investigation of any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.'

It remains to be seen what arrangement the Centre and the Opposition will arrive at on the issue of CBI's autonomy.

The government wants the CBI's investigative autonomy be preserved. The agency could report to the Lokpal only on the cases assigned to it by the ombudsman.

The CBI director, AP Singh, who met the Prime Minister and some top opposition leaders during the last few days has stressed on making the investigating agency more autonomous.