The top investigative agency told the Supreme Court today that administrative and financial powers of the CBI Director are limited and more is needed to be done than what has been proposed by the Centre to ensure autonomy and insulate it from extraneous influences.
This sentence in the agency's 14-page affidavit is enough to expose the lies and actions of the Congress and its government. It also raises the most important question. Do the cases being handled by the CBI have any credibility? Are the investigations honest?
The government has always claimed that the CBI was an independent agency and it does not have any powers to control it. But the affidavit begs to differ.
Other points raised by the CBI are also important and need to be acted on soon.
It says its Director should be given a minimum three-year term instead of two with a rank equal to a Secretary. This would make the agency "discharge its core function without fear or favour".
"A Director who is free to take routine administrative and financial decisions within prescribed rules is necessary for the CBI to remain insulated to discharge its core function without fear or favour," the agency said.
"In the present arrangement, administrative, disciplinary and financial powers of the Director are limited and this impinges on his ability to ensure expeditious and compete investigation and high ethical standard among his subordinates."
"As such, it is necessary that the Director should be vested with ex-officio powers of Secretary of Government of India reporting directly to the Minister without having to go through the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). This will also mean that the budget for the CBI may be separately put up through Minister to the Department of Expenditure," the affidavit said.
"It needs to reiterated that administrative and financial powers are essential for the efficiency of CBI and for insulating it from Ministry in its day to day functioning. A Director who is dependent on Ministry for routine administrative and financial approvals is not best placed to take independent and objective decision in crunch situation," it said.
No accountability commission
The agency has also opposed Centre's move to set up an accountability commission to inquire into allegations of misbehaviour, impropriety or irregularities of its officials.
CBI said there is an internal mechanism to deal with its errant officers and turned down Centre's proposal to set up accountability commission saying that it would create an "anomalous situation". "CBI is of the view that creation of an outside accountability commission will have the tendency of compromising discipline within the organisation as disciplinary power will vest outside, albeit indirectly. This will create an anomalous situation," it said.
Besides, such a provision will disturb the chain of command within the organisation and this will undermine the position of Director and other senior officials in the organisation, it argued.
Many vacancies due to govt control
The affidavit also said that CBI Director be given power to induct SP level officers. At present, he has powers to induct only up to Inspector-level officers. "CBI is of the view that experience shows that vacancies at the cutting edge level at the rank of SP remain very high. In view of the the continued large number of vacancies at SP level and delay in the entire process of induction, the Director may be empowered to induct SP level officers subject to the officers being available on the offer list for Central Deputation," it said.
Power to prosecute
The agency agreed with the government recommendation that the CBI would have power to go ahead with prosecution for its officials if the Centre does not grant sanction within three months but it said "An exception is required to be made to obviate the need of the consent of the state government in the matters pertaining to employees of Central government and PSUs working in the state".
(with agencies inputs)