The government has brushed aside the CBI's objections on its proposed changes in the law governing the investigating agency, a move that is likely to set it on a confrontational path with the Supreme Court.
Four days after the apex court had asked the government and the CBI to try and arrive at a "meeting point", the government's draft bill to amend the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act indicates that the two sides are far from reaching even a minimum consensus.
The friction started six months ago when the Supreme Court had strongly criticised the government for its interference in the CBI probe into the coal blocks allocation scam, which led to the resignation of Ashwani Kumar as law minister and Harin Rawal as additional solicitor general.
The apex court had termed the CBI as a "caged parrot with many masters" and had asked the government to file an affidavit on how to free the agency of its control. Based on its affidavit filed in the court in July, the government has proposed changes in the DSPE Act, but it has not accepted any of the CBI's demands.
Key changes proposed by the Department for Personnel and Training in the 1946 law include setting-up of a three-member accountability commission comprising retired judges to probe complaints against senior CBI officials.
This proposal was strongly opposed by the CBI in the Supreme Court, saying such a move would further curtail its autonomy, but the government has snubbed the agency and given the go ahead on the issue.
None of the key demands of the CBI, including secretary level status for its director have been met.
Neither is the demand of doing away with the provision of seeking prosecution sanction from authorities before filing a case against any official and financial autonomy have found any mention in the proposed bill. The government has moreover decided to remove the reference of appointment of CBI director by a collegium comprising the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha from the Lokpal bill and include it among fresh amendments in the DSPE Act.
The government has also proposed that the director can only be removed by the President in case an inquiry by the Central Vigilance Commission finds him guilty of any wrongdoing.