The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) should be given constitutional status empowering them with appropriate autonomy and independence to make them effective instruments for fighting corruption, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai said on Wednesday.
“If you really want some of these institutions to deliver, you must take a risk and ... take courage to make them constitutional,” he said, while speaking at a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) here.
Rai said CBI is not independent of the executive and that is the reason why it is often criticised for being a “handmaiden of the government”.
“Look at the CVC. It is another body much feared, much maligned. But it is still a statutory body. It is not a constitutional body,” Rai said.
The CAG also favoured granting constitutional autonomy to the Lokpal, the proposed anti-graft body. “If Lokpal is expected to function with autonomy and total independence you will have to guarantee a constitutional mandate,” Rai said, adding that there was a need to introduce transparency into the functioning of corporates also.
“We were once transparency averse, but no longer,” Rai said, who audited India’s biggest scandals, the 2G telecom spectrum scam and alleged irregularities in coal block allocation.
Both these scams, according to CAG’s estimates, may have cost the national exchequer potential revenues of Rs. 176,000 crore and Rs. 186,000 crore respectively.
Rai said facts of the CAG reports have not been disputed. “No one has, as yet, disputed any facts we have put out. Yes, there may be some dispute over our calculations, but there has been no dispute about our facts,” he said on the sidelines of the WEF.