The chiefs of the Central Bureau of Investigation and Central Vigilance Commission on Wednesday knocked on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's door to plead that the clamour for a strong lokpal does not come at the cost of the two institutions.
The meetings came hours before the Prime Minister convened a meeting of political leaders to decide the final shape of the lokpal bill.
Central vigilance commissioner Pradeep Kumar and CBI director AP Singh lead the two central anti-graft agencies that could find their roles diminished once the lokpal law is passed.
Kumar and Singh had faced tough questions from MPs when they appeared before the parliamentary standing committee that examined the lokpal bill. With MPs having blamed the CBI for its inability to deal effectively with corruption, Singh had hinted there were impediments.
"The ideal situation would be that the CBI is made autonomous, independent and effective," AP Singh told the panel.
With the panel's report currently under the government's consideration, the CBI is concerned that the anti-corruption watchdog might end up becoming a super body that — and not the CBI director — will have the last word on initiating and closing investigations.
The CVC, however, is worried that it might end up playing a vigilance watchdog for more than 70 lakh Group C central government employees -- a job that could practically kill the commission.
With a staff strength of about 285, the CVC now has jurisdiction over Group A officers only.