Bring CBI under independent Lokpal: Prashant Bhushan

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New Delhi, March 19: The CBI cannot be given total autonomy and should be brought under the administrative control of a totally independent Lokpal, AAP leader and senior advocate Prashant Bhushan said on Thursday.

Speaking at the launch of the book "CBI Insider Speaks: Birlas to Sheila Dikshit" (Manas Publications), Bhushan said the investigation agency should be a "cadre-based service" and should also be brought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Bhushan wants CBI under Lokpal

"CBI can't be given total autonomy. Therefore, we have been arguing that a totally independent Lokpal is the right kind of body. CBI should be brought under administrative control of Lokpal. For greater transparency, it should be brought under RTI," he said.

Former CBI joint director Shantonu Sen, who has written the book, said there should be an oversight mechanism on the CBI.

"The interference that takes place needs to be controlled," he said.

The Aam Aadmi Party leader said the Central Bureau of Investigation was a very important institution about which much is not known.

Bhushan, who has filed several public interest litigations, said career officers in CBI were a "dying breed" and it was "one of the reasons for loss of its independence".

He said the CBI had been exempted from the RTI under a recent government notification except on some matters and it was more difficult to get information now.

Bhushan said the agency had a large number of competent and independent officers but it has been beset with a number of serious problems.

Referring to meetings of a former CBI chief with some accused people during his stint at the helm of the agency, Bhushan said it was a matter of serious concern.

Bhushan: CBI can't be given total autonomy

Bhushan said that apart from corruption, there were "problems of political interference".

He said though the Central Vigilance Commission had been given supervisory jurisdiction over the CBI, "political interference has continued".

Bhushan said the CVC has hardly exercised its supervisory jurisdiction.

"The administrative control continues to vest with the government. Powers of transfer, posting, disciplinary action continue to be vested with the government," he said.

Bhushan also alleged that several cases relating to "politically powerful people" and "powerful corporates" were exempted from purview of CBI investigations and chargesheets.

He said the role of courts had also come in focus in some cases involving "politically powerful" and "powerful corporates".

He also raised questions over the process of appointment of the CBI chief.

"If you look at the overall picture, even in appointment of directors, the Leader of Opposition usually happens to go along with (the choice of) weak and pliable people as director," he said.

Bhushan also said there were attempts to throttle internal whistle-blowers under the Official Secrets Act.

Former Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar said Sen in his book has not shied away from "naming names in organisations and the government".

IANS

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