Under fire, govt plans to cut legal aid to CBI | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Under fire, govt plans to cut legal aid to CBI

delhi Updated: Jun 03, 2013 00:11 IST
Nagendar Sharma

Under fire from the Supreme Court for interference in the CBI's functioning, the government is set to end its role in providing legal advice and appointment of its law officers to represent the investigating agency in courts.

The Group of Ministers (GoM), set-up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month to consider CBI autonomy, has decided to recommend creation of an independent directorate of prosecution for the agency, HT has learnt.

The proposed body will be headed by a director — to be appointed by an independent panel — and will report to the CBI boss, virtually ending CBI’s dependence on the law ministry.

The directorate will also have its own dedicated team of lawyers to represent the agency.

The GoM, headed by finance minister P Chidambaram, has finalised a number of steps which will form the basis of the government's affidavit to be submitted in the SC by July 3.

The government is also likely to tell the top court that it is ready to amend the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, the law which currently governs the CBI's functioning.

The Supreme Court had termed the CBI as a "caged parrot with many masters" on May 8, following the government's interference in its ongoing probe into the coal blocks allocation scam.

The government will also inform the apex court that the Lokpal bill already provides for the appointment of the CBI director by an independent panel, comprising the prime minister, leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge. The committee will be headed by the prime minister.

The CBI director is currently appointed by the government on the basis of a panel of names shortlisted by a committee headed by the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC).

The GoM has also recommended a fixed tenure for the CBI director and the government is expected to take a final call on whether it should be two or three years.