The ministry of personnel and training has relaxed its financial control on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), giving more decision-making powers to the director of the investigating agency.
The CBI director can now approve planned expenditure to the tune of Rs 15 crore. Earlier, the amount which could be approved was relatively negligible.
“CBI director and secretary (personnel) sat on Friday last to hammer out a solution after Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati nudged them to settle the matter amicably. The agency was asking for the secretary-level financial powers for its director, but climbed down from the demand to call a truce,” said a CBI official who did not want to be named.
The ministry of personnel is the administrative ministry of the CBI.
The official added the agency was now satisfied with the enhanced financial powers for the director and would inform the Supreme Court.
The SC is likely to hear the CBI on Wednesday on the issue of its autonomy. Enhanced financial powers, equivalent to that of a secretary to the government, was a major demand of the CBI in terms of its financial autonomy.
Under the new scheme of things, the CBI will not have to take permission from the ministry every time it has to get documents translated.
With enhanced powers, the agency will now be able to outsource some of the services, but with prior approval of the finance ministry.
It can hire consultants for up to Rs 10 lakh for each case and make advance payments up to 80% of the full disbursement to a government agency without running to the administrative ministry.
With more money at its disposal, the agency will also not need to knock on the ministry’s doors for new laptops, mobile phones and computer software.