A parliamentary panel specifically set up to examine the highly publicised anti-graft lokpal bill appears to have been split along party lines on the issue of whether the government should wield administrative control over the CBI.
The select Rajya Sabha committee, which is in the final stages of scrutinising the bill, could see a major difference of opinion on the issue.
This may lead to a virtual repeat of the occurrence on the midnight of December 29, when the government failed to get the bill passed in the House.
Members belonging to opposition parties have demanded greater autonomy for the CBI, and proposed that its funds be drawn directly from the Consolidated Fund of India.
They have also suggested a fixed tenure for top CBI officials.
This issue is learnt to have figured prominently in the select committee meeting on Friday. Sources said that in the absence of unanimity, the discussion is likely to continue in the next meeting on November 19.
The government is keen on introducing the lokpal bill in Rajya Sabha during the upcoming winter session of Parliament, which begins on November 22.
It has already been passed by the Lok Sabha, but lack of majority in the upper house may force the government to concede to some of the demands being raised by the opposition.
The bill has kept the CBI completely out of the lokpal's jurisdiction, but a large number of opposition parties want the agency to be at least given a free hand in investigating cases - even if it is not brought under the lokpal's supervision.
Opposition members in the select committee had proposed that the ministry of personnel should not be the authority controlling the CBI.